Words & Banter

You’re Three Digits Away From Help

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!

When we reread the post we did two years ago (see below), we felt it was worth repeating … as even though mental health’s being discussed more, too many people still don’t want to talk about their situations because they feel ashamed and/or they don’t know “Where To Start – Mental Health In A Changing World” (the theme of this May’s Mental Health Awareness Month) or who to contact. (Remember, there’s a 988 lifeline.)

Millions of Americans face mental health issues each year, and it’s important to remember that no one has to face it alone.





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I’ve only recently started listening to country music, mainly because that’s what Sawyer’s always listening to, but I already knew of the mother-daughter duo, The Judds .


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Hard not to, as it was the most successful female duo.


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What’s hard to believe is that the day before her and Wynonna’s induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame , Naomi committed suicide. As a mother, your instinct is to put your children first, so that shows the overwhelming depth of the depression she was battling.


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I am sure people questioned how someone who appeared to have everything, and was about to be awarded one of her industry’s highest honors, could feel so bad about herself or her life to want to end it.
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Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash


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As you know, I love history, but I appreciate many people don’t.


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I am one of those people, so not sure where you are going with this.


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Exactly. So, when you first wanted to talk to me about the history of credit cards, I should have known something was up.


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Or, at least been curious.


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How was I supposed to know it would make a difference in my life?


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Why else would I want to give you a “history lesson”?
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Photo by mevans on iStock
Let’s be very clear. Autism has no correlation with intelligence; it’s a developmental disability (or what Black refers to as “DIFF-abilities”). And it’s a spectrum disorder, which means each autistic person has their unique mix of abilities, challenges, and ways of seeing the world (can’t that be said of all of us?!) So, as we celebrate World Autism Acceptance Week, remember it’s more than just awareness – it’s about acceptance.

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Did you know that April's Autism Awareness Month? I wasn't aware (pun intended) of it until I read our local homeowner's monthly newsletter and it caught my eye.


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Actually, last month the founding organization, the Autism Society, changed "Awareness" to "Acceptance" to foster inclusivity, as knowing about something is very different from accepting it. But I am guessing that is not the point of this call.


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Although it isn't autism, it reminded me of years ago when we found out that Natasha has learning disabilities.


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I think you mean DIFF-abilities.


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Of course, that's another thing I remember. I was focused on the negative aspects of her diagnosis until you asked me, point-blank, "Why are they called disabilities?" And proceeded to explain that everyone has different strengths and weaknesses.


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Exactly! Imagine the world if everyone excelled at math, but flunked English. Or, a world of lawyers, but no musicians. Some people are better at social skills, while others excel at handling technical data. Why not just say that people who have different skillsets and abilities have DIFF-abilities versus making them feel like they have shortcomings?
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