The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline does important work. They’re there to listen to those who are considering taking their own lives and try to keep them from doing it. Historically, it works.
However, the problem with the hotline was that it had a number that few could remember right off the top of their heads, meaning those who were suicidal had to look it up before they could call. That extra step might be more than they felt like doing before ending their own life.
Yet they recently got a three-digit number, much like how 911 works to call the police.
That means all anyone has to remember is 988.
But does it work? Well, it sure looks like it.
Since it became live, the 988 National Suicide Prevention Hotline has experienced a 45% increase in call volume compared to August 2021. And not only are more people reaching out, but it also looks like they’re getting the help they need.
Early data shows that thousands of lives may have been saved in one month alone since the transition. Wait times have also decreased, plunging from 2.5 minutes to only 42 seconds.
Suicide is one of the top killers in the country. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the US lost one person to this silent killer every 11 minutes in 2020. That doesn’t take into account the number of failed attempts or the millions of people who live daily with suicidal ideation.
But the good news is, intervention works. In fact, 9 out of 10 people who attempt suicide unsuccessfully will not go on to die by suicide—but getting the proper care and intervention is essential in creating that statistic.
That means the new suicide hotline offers incredible possibilities in our fight against mental illness. But it also means we need a lot more people to enter the field of care. As the COVID lockdowns have exacerbated our already existing mental health crisis, it is imperative that we have providers ready to meet the needs (demand) of people who are struggling.
Now, it’s not difficult to see why this is good news. However, we’re not a mental health site. We don’t cover this kind of thing for our own amusement, either.
So what does this have to do with the Second Amendment? Plenty.
When anti-gunners seek to sway the public, they talk about “gun deaths.” This is nothing more than the total count of people who lost their lives due to a gunshot wound.
Suicides with a firearm account for more than half of all suicides nationally, yet they’re also roughly two-thirds of all firearm-related fatalities. Reducing those numbers reduces the number of “gun deaths” they can use to justify gun control.
The biggest takeaway is that people seem to be getting help and aren’t taking their lives, but this isn’t exactly nothing.
If firearm-related fatalities drop significantly due to a major drop in suicides, that’s a win across the board. Fewer lives get lost senselessly and fewer opportunities to try and blame it on the gun occur. What’s not to love here?