May is Mental Health Awareness Month. By urging our public officials to prioritize suicide prevention, mental health, and crisis care, we are hoping to influence collective change to support #MentalHealth4All.
Right now, individuals in crisis are able to call 1-800-273-8255 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress and those that care for them. Soon, it will be much easier to remember how to reach the Lifeline as the number will be changing to "988" nationwide by July 2022.
Knowing this, it is critically important that states pass legislation NOW to reliably fund 988 and their state's crisis response system, just as we fund 911 and emergency services - through small fees on our phone bills. Reliable funding will help to ensure all 988 callers can reach a counselor in their own state who is familiar with and can connect them with local resources. Culturally competent support and local connections can better help all callers through their crisis and in their recovery.
Educators of PATH, Inc. work with youth on a daily basis. We see first-hand the many youth who struggle at various levels with mental health concerns. Our staff have taken calls and received text messages from youth in crisis. Data supports that the current challenges of the COVID-19 Pandemic have increased the mental health concerns of our youth and the population as a whole. Now more than ever we need to provide them with the immediate support they need to be safe and well. To learn more, follow us on our social media platforms as well as the Wellness Coalition of Porter County as together we bring you information on mental health and wellness.