By Amanda McIntosh
The Southeast Utah Health Department and the HOPE Squad of Carbon, Emery, and Grand Counties are excited and support the implementation of the new 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. We are grateful to the men and women who have worked diligently over the course of the last few years to ensure that ANYONE in crisis has the ability to pick up the phone and text or call in a crisis and be met with a compassionate, caring and trained individual on the other end of the line. With the implementation of 988, here are a few things to know:
- Counselors are trained to collaborate with callers to find the least invasive, most relevant and most effective care plan for their crisis. This feature is available for more than just the person in crisis. If you are concerned about a loved one, you are encouraged and welcome to call as well for resources nearest you.
- Even when you are not comfortable sharing personal or identifying information, 988 counselors are trained to find whatever resources fit you best – country-wide.
- 988 or 1-800-273-TALK? BOTH!!! Never hesitate to utilize every resource at your fingertips. Don’t feel comfortable talking to someone and would like to text instead? Please do – simply type HOME to 741741. All communications styles are available to you 24-7.
- 988 Lifeline call centers are located all over the country to provide callers with local, relevant and accessible mental health resources. If you are calling 988 from your cell phone with a different area code than the state/area you are calling from, simply let the call center know that you are not in that area and they will connect you to the correct state’s call center.
- You are not required in anyway to disclose personal information to receive help. 988’s intentions are to assist everyone in co-creating a safety plan, regardless of your location.
What will 988 look like for rural Utah, such as Carbon, Emery and Grand counties? When a caller from Southeast Utah calls 988, they will have quicker access to Four Corner Community Behavioral Health’s services, such as their MCOT (Mobile Crisis Outreach Team), as they are the local mental health authority for the area. All calls made to 988 from the 435 and 801 area codes are immediately directed to the Huntsman Mental Health Institute and then can be directed to more local resources.
Again, the Southeast Utah Health Department and the HOPE Squad of Carbon, Emery, and Grand Counties are excited to see bridges being gapped by the implementation of 988. We know that any and all attempts to connect people to resources while in a crisis is an opportunity to potentially save a life. If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, please call the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 9-8-8 or call/text the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and 741741 for texting. Always remember that Four Corners Community Behavioral Health is available for Carbon, Emery and Grand counties by calling (435) 637-2358.
The HOPE Squad of Carbon, Emery, and Grand Counties are also looking forward to celebrating Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month during the month of September. You are invited to attend two events this year. The first to be held on World Suicide Prevention Day, which is Saturday, Sept. 10 at the Price Peace Gardens. There will be a candlelight vigil and all are welcome to show support for suicide prevention, remember and honor a lost loved one, and stand with the survivors. The candlelight vigil will begin at 7:30 p.m. until 9 p.m. Battery-operated candles will be provided.
The second event is the annual HOPE Walk taking place on Saturday, Sept. 17. This free event will take place at the Price Peace Gardens beginning at 10 a.m. and will end at 2 p.m. The HOPE Squad of Carbon, Emery, and Grand Counties are partnering with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention this year and are looking forward to incorporating their long-standing traditions into the walk. Please register by going to Price HOPE Walk.