Mid-Michigan community members say new 3-digit suicide hotline is helpful
LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - The national suicide hotline number changed to 988 on Saturday.
Tens of thousands of people commit suicide across the US every year. In Michigan it has happened more than the national average.
Now, calling 988 no matter where you are, can get you help in a mental health crisis.
Shannon Norris felt this hot-line number change on a personal level. She knows what it is like to have a mental health crisis and to reach out to the hot line.
“You know one of the worst losing a child too early and you know you think about that. Especially as a parent,” said Norris. “There is a club of parents who lost their children. We all know about; you just want to go be with your child.”
In Shannon Norris’ 51 years she has faced many traumas including losing a child. Since then, she has thought about suicide and used the national hotline. With it now being only three digits, she told News 10 that it will make it easier and more convenient for someone in a crisis to call. 988 launched nationwide Saturday, July 16. It connects people in crisis to mental health professionals 24/7.
Now despite the potential benefits, peer support specialist Frances Kanous said more work still needs to be done.
“Those basic needs it’s one of the many reasons that I get calls on the 988. Individuals who do not have their basic need met,” Kanous stated.
Kanous also said there needs to be a closer look at some of those basic contributors to suicide thoughts and actions. Some of which include not having access to housing, food, or health care. Norris and Kanous shared that there are alternative options to calling the hot-line like having a safe word.
“You send to a friend that lets them know “hey, I’m feeling really bad, but I don’t really want to say all that,” said Norris.
Kanous adds that some crisis hotlines like the Trevor Project have a texting feature for those who may not be comfortable talking on the phone. But she does believe talking to family and providers help as well.
“Natural support beforehand which is individuals in your life like family and friends,” said Kanous. “And then if you have professional support like a therapist or a doctor. You know just trying to make sure that you’re utilizing those people, so that the people in your life know what’s going on.”
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