Underlying image by Chung Sin Lan on iStock


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I knew there was a National Suicide Prevention Hotline, but I had no clue there was going to be a new three-digit 988 emergency call number until you sent me that article about it. Why isn’t it in the mainstream? They need to start promoting it!


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First of all, it is called a “lifeline,” not a “hotline.” And, I know I am being literal, but we need to get over the stigma associated with mental health issues or experiencing an emotional crisis. If someone was drowning, would there be a stigma about throwing them a lifeline? Of course not. It would be expected.


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Good point. And I think they should use celebrities to promote the new “988” number. Especially as more and more celebrities use their fame and public platforms to shed light on mental health issues, it makes “mere mortals” realize they’re not alone. And feel more comfortable admitting their own struggles and, more importantly, seeking help.


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I hope the decision to change the name to Suicide & Crisis Lifeline will let people know there are trained counselors to help them with an assortment of issues, not only suicide.

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Whenever I hear about the increasing number of deaths by suicide, especially by younger people, it breaks my heart. And when I read about mass killings, I can’t help but wonder if they couldn’t have been prevented if we had better mental health care.

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Do not get me on that soapbox. But, this is a step in the right direction. Although, I am concerned whether the crisis centers are prepared for the potential volume of calls. I know there is over $400 million in federal funding to expand the system. However, the technology to automatically forward a 988 call to a nationwide support network is easy; being ready for the influx of calls and range of issues is entirely different.

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No kidding. I bet the current system saw a huge increase during the pandemic, and that was having to use a 10-digit number. But I’ll say they did a good job publicizing that number.

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I know you do not want the numbers, but the current 10-digit number (which still works) received 3.6 million calls, chats, and texts in 2011, and more than 20 million calls on behalf of people calling for themselves or others since it was launched in 2005. But, it is critical to remember those “numbers” represent people, and have a ripple effect.

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Then I can only imagine the impact of this change to 988. It could be huge!

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That is the plan. The transition to a simplified three-digit number is meant to increase access. Similar to 911, but more specifically targeted. And, hopefully, widely used.

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So, what can we do to get the word out?

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Hope people share this post …

P.S. – Want to help? Understanding the issues concerning mental health and suicide is an important way to help people in crisis, and to change the conversations around mental health. So, please take a moment to see how!

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It’s #GivingTuesday, and although it’s always a good time to think of others, remember all the people who are continuing to deal with the aftermath of natural disasters long after the headlines have been forgotten.

And even though Black believes charitable giving can be “secretive”, she also knows there’s science proving helping others is good for you. (Warning: she likes to recommend the book “Wonder Drug: 7 Scientifically Proven Ways That Serving Others Is the Best Medicine for Yourself.“)

P.S. – Wherever you may choose to donate, beware of potential scammers. So, if in doubt – check them out! (Black likes GuideStar and Charity Navigator.)



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I know today’s Giving Tuesday, but what I always find so amazing is how you treat every day as “Giving Tuesday."


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What makes you say that? I do not donate to an organization or charity every day.


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You’re always so literal. I meant that the spirit of “giving to others”, whether donating or providing support in some way, seems to be part of your daily life.


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I think you are exaggerating.
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Photo courtesy of Red’s eldest daughter, Natasha


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At the risk of asking you a warm and fuzzy question, have you thought about what you’re most thankful for this Thanksgiving?


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Yes.


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I should’ve guessed that you’d take the question literally. Could you expand on that a little, or at least give me a hint?
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When Red was a child, toilets represented more than a place to go when, well, you had to go. Much to Black’s amusement, Red saw cleaning them as a reward. (Really! Check out Red's post below.) But neither of us realized that billions of people don’t have access to toilets. And if it weren’t for today being World Toilet Day, we never would have known the magnitude of the associated health and safety issues – or the connection between sanitation and groundwater.

RED: What can I tell you? When I was a kid, one of my all-time favorite things to do was … clean the toilet. Yes, you read that correctly. And it wasn’t because I was a germophobe or a clean freak. I just loved being able to sit on the floor, using as much Bon Ami (I’ve no idea why I remember the brand) cleaning powder as I wanted. And the best part? All those bubbles!

It kept me entertained for hours. Not to mention, my mom was thrilled because it kept me “contained” and out of her hair. So much so that if I was very good and behaved myself, she might even give me “special permission” to clean the toilet in my parent’s bathroom. Of course, Black, being five years older and understanding the situation, found it all extremely amusing. Even now, decades later, she still gives me grief about it,

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