Every eleven minutes, someone in the United States loses their life to suicide.
Mental health issues are a national emergency. The new 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is an easy-to-remember and easy-to-use hotline connecting people with mental health professionals. 988 is free, confidential, and available 24/7. It’s live as of July 16, 2022.
The primary objective is making it easier for people to get the help they need. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said, “If you are willing to turn to someone in your moment of crisis, 988 will be there. 988 won’t be a busy signal and 988 won’t put you on hold. You will get help.”
People can call or text 988 to reach an existing network of over 200 local crisis call centers with trained mental health counselors. The phone number, modeled after 911, is a rebranded version of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s well-established call center. That 10-digit number, 1-800-273-8255 (TALK), is still active but now reroutes to 988.
Jessica Rosenworcel, Chairwoman of the Federal Communications Commission, delivered a message about the program’s rollout. “Establishing a universally known number for suicide prevention will increase awareness of these issues and decrease the stigma surrounding mental health,” she said in a YouTube video, “I have a message for anyone out there who might feel like you need help and you’ve got nowhere to turn: You’re not alone, it’s not too late, dial 988.”
MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS FOR TRUCK DRIVERS
Truckers are tough. Long hours away from loved ones spent hauling freight to keep America functioning is not a career path for the faint of heart. Many truck drivers proudly wear their strength and fortitude as a badge of honor, and rightfully so.
However, truckers need to acknowledge that they’re not immune to mental health struggles. Research shows truckers face significant issues affecting their mental health. A National Library of Medicine study found:
- 27.9% of truckers experience lonelines
- 26.9% of truckers experience depression
- 20.6% of truckers experience chronic sleep disturbances
- 14.5% of truckers experience anxiety
- 13.0% of truckers experience other emotional problems
The lifestyle of an over-the-road truck driver involves many occupational stressors. It’s classified as one of the highest-risk occupations in the country. Drivers regularly face time pressures, social isolation, disrespect, dangerous driving hazards, and much more. It’s not uncommon for these conditions to push truckers towards unhealthy coping mechanisms. All of these factors combine to make mental health an important area of concern that must be handled with great care.
Truck drivers need to know there are effective stress managment solutions available. Setting up consistent driving schedules with your employer, having a truck driver assistant, and attending remote therapy are just some of the measures seeing success in the industry. Addressing mental health issues and suicide prevention are essential to both drivers and carriers. Know your rights and work with your employer to ensure your mental health is taken care of.
988 is a vital initiative to break the stigma surrounding mental health. It’s not just okay to ask for help, it’s necessary. You should ask for help. And now, it’s easier than ever before.
You’re not alone, it’s not too late, dial 988.