Calls to the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline doubled between 2014 and 2017. The hotline includes a network of more than 150 local and national call centers. Overall, the hotline received more than two million calls in 2017.
Trained staff and volunteers respond to calls from people in crisis. According to spokesperson Frances Gonzalez:
"The lifeline has been proven to de-escalate moments of crisis and help people find hope."
If you are a past suicide attempt survivor or someone who has struggled with suicidal feelings:
- Take a minute now to program the phone number into your phone. That way it will be easily accessible if you need it.
- Know that you can use the hotline if thoughts of suicide are just fleeting, if you are beginning to make a plan, or if you are concerned that an attempt is imminent. You don't need to be desperate to get support, and it is never too late to reach out, either
- Try making a practice run when you are feeling ok. When the hotline volunteers answer, you can say: "I am someone who has struggled with thoughts of suicide in the past, and I just want to practice making this call." It is perfectly fine to make this practice call and may make you feel more comfortable if you ever need to make the call in a crisis situation in the future.
- Note that in addition to the main number, there are text numbers and special phone numbers designated for high risk factor populations (the military, LGBTQ communities, the trans-lifeline, etc.) However, if you call the main number, they can also put you in touch with these numbers, immediately.
- Take a minute now to program the phone number into your phone. Encourage other friends and family members to do the same.
- Know that you too can call the number if you are ever worried about a loved one who may be suicidal. The people who answer the phone can help provide you with information and resources in order to help you immediately or in the future.
The important thing is to connect people with others who are trained to help. Give the hotline a try. The people on the other end of the line save numerous lives, every single day.