You know about 911, but the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline may still be a mystery.
Just as you call 911 for emergencies that threaten your body, calling 988 safeguards your mind. The free, confidential service is available to anyone in the U.S. who is in emotional distress or having a mental health or substance abuse crisis.
After one year of operation, the Lifeline is working.
“80- to 90%-plus of people who contact 988 are going to be de-escalated over the phone and ideally connected to local resources,” said National Alliance for Mental Illness Chief Advocacy Officer Hannah Wesolowski at a 988 anniversary event hosted by Hill.
4 million people contacted 988 in the first year. One hundred thousand new people reach out every week.
988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is Like 911, but Different
Here are 5 essential facts about the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline:
A cascade of new scientific evidence from all over the world shows how screen use can badly hurt the development of babies and toddlers. The news comes as more parents rely on tablets, phones, and TVs to calm, distract, or entertain their little children.
Studies published in just the past year paint a dire picture.
The World Health Organization recommends that children under age 2 have no “sedentary screen time.” Instead, babies and toddlers should engage with loving caregivers, move and explore their surroundings using all their senses, and get plenty of sleep.
Screens Disrupt it All
In a US study of mothers during the pandemic, those who allowed their 6-month-olds to use screens let them watch an average of 3 hours a day. “Screen use was relatively common during meals, when going to sleep, while waiting, and to help calm the infant,” the authors write.
That, they conclude, is “an impediment to the relationship between a parent and a child, disrupting maternal responsiveness and interfering with parent-child interactions.”
Putting warning labels on social media is among strategies to better protect child users being discussed by a U.S. Senate committee.
At the hearing “Protecting Our Children Online,” witnesses called by the Senate Committee on the Judiciary described a digital environment replete with social media harms. They also discussed ways for Congress to act.
Parent Nightmares Continue
Encouragement, structure, and media management can improve children’s mental health and boost their brain development. So say multiple mental health experts, even as a mental health emergency rages on among U.S. children and teens.
Matt Miles, a high school teacher in suburban Washington, D.C., sees the crisis playing out.
“The number that’s exploding are the kids with moderate day-to-day inability to cope.” They can’t handle the pressure they used to, he says, “like two tests in a day.”
Children’s mental health practitioners are also concerned.