Facing a mental health crisis? You’re not alone. In the United States, millions of people struggle with emotional distress, anxiety, and thoughts of suicide. But reaching out for help can feel overwhelming. 

That’s why 988, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, is here – a beacon of hope and support, available 24/7 to anyone in need.

But what exactly happens when you call 988? 

This guide will walk you through the process, demystifying the experience and empowering you to take that crucial step towards healing.

  1. A Warm Welcome: When you dial 988, you’ll be greeted by a pre-recorded message outlining your options. You can choose to connect with a crisis counselor in English or Spanish, access resources for veterans, or remain on hold for a counselor in your area.
  1. A Listening Ear: A trained crisis counselor will answer your call, ready to listen without judgment. They’ll ask questions to understand your situation and provide immediate support. Don’t worry about having all the answers – their focus is on creating a safe space for you to express your feelings and concerns.
  1. A Collaborative Path Forward: Crisis counselors are skilled in de-escalating situations and helping you develop coping mechanisms. They’ll work with you to identify your needs and explore potential solutions. This could involve:
  • Safety planning: If you’re experiencing suicidal thoughts, the counselor will help you create a safety plan to keep yourself safe in the moment.
  • Resource referrals: They can connect you with local mental health services, support groups, and other resources that can provide ongoing care and support.
  • Crisis intervention: In some cases, the counselor may need to involve emergency services if you or someone else is in immediate danger.
  1. Unconditional Support: Remember, your call is confidential, and you’re in control of the conversation. The counselor will stay with you for as long as needed, offering unwavering support and encouragement.
  1. Beyond the Call: The journey to healing doesn’t end with the call. Many crisis centers offer follow-up support, such as text message check-ins or warmline services. You can also access additional resources through the 988 website or by calling the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 (press 1).

Calling 988 is a courageous act of self-care. It’s a testament to your strength and resilience, and it can be the first step towards a brighter future. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you’re struggling – help is always just a phone call away.

Here are some additional resources that you may find helpful:

Remember, you are not alone. There is hope, and there is help.

Please note: This blog post is for informational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical advice. If you are experiencing a mental health crisis, please call 988 or seek immediate help from a qualified healthcare professional.

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