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Social media posts criticize new 988 suicide hotline

By Aneri Pattani

Thursday, August 11, 2022 (Caesars News) — Get help if you or someone you know is contemplating suicide. Various resources are listed at the bottom of this article.

When the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline went online last month, many mental health providers, researchers and advocates celebrated. While the national suicide hotline has been around for years, there is finally an easy-to-remember three-digit number for people to call, they say. Shorter phone numbers will serve as an alternative to 911 for mental health emergencies.

But not everyone feels the same. Some advocates and people with experience with the mental health system have expressed concerns about 988 on social media and warned people not to call it.

An Instagram post said, “988 is not friendly. Don’t call, don’t post, don’t share, don’t know the risks.” As of early August, the post had With nearly 250,000 likes, the post went on to list the risks of police involvement, involuntary treatment in emergency rooms or mental hospitals, and the emotional and financial toll of these experiences.

Other posts on Instagram and Twitter expressed similar concerns, saying the hotline would send law enforcement officers to check for Dangerous people commit suicide without their consent, and people, especially from the LGBTQ+ community and communities of color, may be forced into treatment.

988 Also an important mental health resource or concern? We decided to dig into these questions, figure out how 988 works, and explain what you need to know before dialing.

Why do some people say not to call 988?

We reached out to some social media posts asking them directly.

Liz Winston, the author of an Instagram post calling 988 “unfriendly,” said she wants people to know the outcome of all potential calls so they don’t would be blinded by the “trauma system” she experienced.

Last summer, Winston had suicidal thoughts and went to the hospital in New York. She wished to speak to a psychiatrist but was involuntarily held in the psychiatric unit of the emergency room. She said she had not had any counselling in the 24 hours she spent there and that the experience was “very distressing”.

Winston did not call the hotline, but she said those who did end up in a similar situation. It’s true that when police get calls about people in a mental health crisis, they usually take them to the emergency room or mental hospital.

“I realize there is a desperate desire to save people in crisis, but the reality is that existing services make the problem worse,” Winston Said he works in mental health peer support and has established an online support group for people recovering from involuntary treatment.

Studies show that suicide rates rise sharply in the months after people are discharged from mental hospitals. Those who were sent involuntarily were more likely to attempt suicide than those who chose to go, and involuntary commitments can make young people less likely to reveal their suicidal feelings in the future. Some people also get stuck with big treatment bills they don’t want.

In the U.S., involuntary treatment is seen as A necessary part of suicide prevention, but other countries see it differently. The United Nations has called forced mental health treatment a human rights violation and asked countries to ban it.

Like Winston, Krebs wants people to be fully informed before deciding to call 988. That’s what she tweeted that 988 can and will “send the police if they think it’s necessary.”

She said it could be dangerous because One in five police shootings in 2019 involved a person with a mental illness. In some years, the share is even higher.

How does 988 handle crisis situations?

988 officials said they recognized the risks of involving law enforcement in mental health emergencies. That’s why 988 was created as an alternative to 911, said John Draper, Hotline’s executive director and vice president of Vibrant Emotional Health, which runs it.

“We know that the best way to keep a person safe from harm is to empower them and choose to be safe from harm,” Draper said. Sending out the police was a last resort, he said.

Consultants answering calls or responding to text messages and online chats for 988 should be trained to actively listen, discuss caller concerns and wishes, and work with them to find solutions. Draper said most calls about suicides were de-escalated without law enforcement. Instead, counselors talk about why people die and why they live; connect callers with supportive family, friends, religious leaders, or others in the community; refer callers to outpatient treatment; or establish follow-up with 988 Telephone.

Should the caller be called for emergency only if the caller cannot or will not cooperate with the safety plan and the counselor believes the caller will immediately injure themselves according to the hotline’s policy Serve.

At this point, Draper said, “We can choose to let [the harm] happen or do what we can to keep them safe.”

In previous years, before the 988 number was activated, emergency services were dispatched in 2 percent of interactions on the hotline, the service reported. There are approximately 2.4 million calls per year, which means emergency services activate approximately 48,000 calls. These services can be mobile crisis teams with staff trained in mental health and de-escalation, but in many rural and suburban communities it is usually the police.

    Contrary to some information circulating on social media, 988 cannot geolocate callers, Draper said. When emergency services are called, 988 call centers share with 911 operators the location information they have about the person calling the hotline—usually the caller’s phone number, area code, or IP address of the chat user—to help first responders find

    Starting this fall, 988 will update its policy to require supervisors to review all calls that lead to emergency services, Draper said. Counselors across the nation’s 988 will also receive additional training on alternatives to law enforcement officers and the consequences callers may face when police respond.

    So should I use 988 or not?

    We know this is not satisfactory, but the honest answer is: it depends.

    The 988 hotline is the nation’s most comprehensive mental health crisis service and can provide vital help to people with emotional distress. If you are considering suicide but have not taken steps to take action, 988 is unlikely to call law enforcement without your consent. Instead, 988 counselors can provide resources, referrals, and good-hearted listening. However, if you are in imminent danger and may have a suicide plan, the police may be called and you may be taken to the hospital involuntarily.

      Sonia Richardson, an employee at a licensed clinical society that owns a counseling agency in Charlotte, N.C. that primarily serves black and brown clients, said she was in the middle of launching 988 Her clients were not told immediately. Although she is a member of her state’s 988 planning committee, she said she needs time to build trust in her service. She was relieved to learn at a recent committee meeting that less than 5 percent of the 988 calls she made in North Carolina were answered by law enforcement.

      “It could be a problem with the 988, but it’s probably one of our safer options,” Richardson said. She added that with the rise in black suicide rates in America, communities need more ways to save lives.

      If I don’t want to call 988, what other options do I have?

      Although the U.S. does not have a national mental health hotline run by the government In the case of not calling the police, some alternatives less than 988 are designed to reduce law enforcement involvement.

        “Warm” lines are an option. They usually consist of “peers” who have experienced mental health challenges. They focus less on crisis intervention and more on emotional support for crisis prevention. You can find a state-by-state directory of hotlines here.

        Below are additional hotlines and resources. This is not a complete list and some resources may have their services geographically restricted.

        BlackLine is a hotline for the Black, Black LGBTQ+, Brown, Indigenous and Muslim communities

      • Kiva Centers offers daily online peer support groups
      • MH First Oakland and MH First Sacramento operate at select weekend hours in Oakland and Sacramento, CA
      • Peer Support Space hosts virtual peer support groups twice a day Monday through Saturday Project LETS provides text support for urgent issues involving involuntary hospitalization

      • New York Samaritan is a hotline located in New York City
        Trans Lifeline is trans and skeptical The Hotline
      • Wildflower Alliance There is a peer support line and online support group focused on suicide prevention
      • Our resources

        American Journal of Psychiatry, “Involuntary Commitments: Charging Patients for Compulsory Psychiatric Care,” December 1, 2020

        Harvard Psychiatric Review, “Suicide Risk After Discharge: A Review,” July/August 2019

        Instagram post by Liz Winston on July 16, 2022

        JAMA Psychiatry, “Suicide Rates After Discharge from a Psychiatric Hospital: A Systematic Review and meta-analysis,” July 2017

        KHN, “Part of the ‘Free Britney’ saga that could happen to anyone”, September 29, 2021

        KHN, “US Mental Health Helpline Network Expands, But Rural Areas Still Face Nursing Shortages,” July 28, 2022

        National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, “Policies to Help Callers at Imminent Risk of Suicide,” December 2010

        July 27 Telephone interview with Emily Krebs, a suicide researcher and assistant professor who will be joining Fordham University, 2022

        Telephone interview with John Draper, 988 Suicide & Crisis Executive Director of Lifeline and Executive Vice President of Vibrant Emotional Health National Network August 2, 2022

        July 26, 2022 Working with Peer Support in NYC Phone interview with author Liz Winston

        July 28, 2022 in Charlotte, NC with the Society Phone interview with worker, suicide researcher and counseling agency owner Sonia Richardson

        Slate, “Who’s listening when you call the crisis line? ”, April 1, 2022

        Social Psychiatry and Psychiatry Epidemiology, “Investigation, Involuntary psychiatric hospital admissions to adolescents’ trust and access to care Help”, March 9, 2021

        Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, “Perceived coercion during psychiatric hospital admission increases risk of suicide attempts after discharge Risks,” June 4, 2019

        Therapeutic Advocacy Center, “Underrated People Are Neglected,” December 2015

        The Trevor Project, “What 988 Means for LGBTQ Young People”, July 16, 2022

        202 7/17/2022 Emily Krebs’ Twitter Thread 2

        988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, FAQ, accessed 8/3/2022



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