Suicide assistance lines in the United States are going through an unprecedented 45% increase in activity in the last few months since the three-digit line made things easier por people in distress, it was reported.
The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline (CCSI) was launched last July 16 and call centers have recorded a 45% increase in contacts, primarily from people texting for help, compared to last year, according to the US federal government's Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
What we've seen is a big increase in texting and chatting and some increase in phone calls, said Tim Jansen of Community Crisis Services, in Hyattsville, Maryland. Fortunately, CCSI was prepared. Response rates have been very good nationwide. The national wait time has been reduced, he said. It's still not where it should be, but it's significantly better.
The 988 is the new three-digit number for the service formerly known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which had been operating with a 10-digit service since 2005. Before the launch of the new number, touted as a way to make the service easier and more accessible, health officials were concerned about whether the system was adequately funded and staffed. Jansen told ABC News that if additional state funding is allocated for partner call centers in local areas across the country, it will make a difference.
This week it was reported that the number of suicides committed with firearms rose 11% over the past decade, driven primarily by deaths in cities with more relaxed gun policies.
Researchers from New York University and Everytown for Gun Safety, a leading gun control advocacy organization, released a report highlighting the importance of local legislation in preventing gun violence in cities. The document also highlighted that wherever gun laws were more flexible and also in cities with fewer walkable areas gun suicide rates were higher.
Separate research has shown that a diagnosis of dementia increases the risk of suicide risk for those under the age of 65 in the first three months after a patient is told the news. The study followed nearly 600,000 English people with a psychiatric condition for 18 years.
“A dementia diagnosis can be devastating, but the immediate period after diagnosis is often the period of greatest distress,” said lead study author Dr. Charles Marshall, clinical senior lecturer and honorary consultant neurologist at the Wolfson Institute of Population Health at the Queen Mary University of London.
A 2021 study by Yale University scientists stated that adults over the age of 65 who were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease were twice as likely to die from suicide than older adults who did not suffer from dementia. Obesity, diabetes, and sedentary lifestyles in younger people are rising quickly, and these are risk factors for dementia, it was reported.
Signs of depression and suicidal warning signs mimic those of dementia, making it extremely difficult for caregivers, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.