We have spent the last couple of years talking virtually non-stop about the pandemic. But there is another pandemic that has been in place for decades, and unlike COVID-19 it is not waning — on the contrary, it is intensifying: the mental health pandemic that, each day, causes untold suffering and contributes to catastrophic and fatal outcomes.
Consider the following statistics per the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI):
- 1 in 5 U.S. adults experiences mental illness each year.
- As much as 1 in 20 U.S. adults experiences serious mental illness each year.
- 1 in 6 U.S. youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year.
- 50% of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14, and 75% by age 24.
- Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among people aged 10-34.
- Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S.
- The overall suicide rate in the U.S. has increased by 35% since 1999.
At Carolina Digital Phone, we strive to be part of the solution. That is why we are proud to be an early adopter and vocal supporter of the recently-established mandate to make “988” the nationwide 3-digit phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
As of July 16, 2022, customers who dial the Suicide Prevention Hotline “988” from any phone or device connected to our all-in-one cloud telephone system will be connected to an existing network of more than 200 local crisis call centers across the U.S.
If a local crisis center is too busy to respond immediately, then the call or text is routed to one of 16 backup centers around the country. At the current time, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s toll-free number 800-273-8255 remains active, but calls are being routed to 988.
Early reports on transition are positive. In the new 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline’s first week of operation, counselors answered 23,000 more calls, texts and chats than the week before — which represented a 45 percent surge.
Commented Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra: “The hope for the new number is if you are willing to turn to someone in your moment of crisis, 988 will be there. 988 won’t be a busy signal and 988 won’t put you on hold. You will get help. That is the goal. That is the aspiration.”
In addition to spreading awareness of the new 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, we urge organizations to focus on ways that they can support their employees’ mental health, and foster a mentally healthy workplace. Recommended resources include:
- The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy website on Mental Health: click here.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) website on Mental Health in the Workplace: click here.
- The American Psychological Association’s (AMA) website on 5 Ways to Improve Employee Mental Health: click here.
We Support The Suicide Prevention Hotline
At Carolina Digital Phone, we are proud to take a leadership role in promoting awareness of the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, and supporting mentally healthy employees and workplaces — because we are all in this together, now more than ever.