Three-digit Suicide Prevention Lifeline goes live this weekend

When it comes to mental health, time can be of the essence. Especially when someone is in a crisis needing help. This weekend, the new three-digit National Suicide Prevention Lifeline goes live across the country, saving time where it matters most.

Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin has been a strong voice in the project, helping author bipartisan legislation that passed in the House in 2018.

"It’s not that there weren’t suicide hotlines that existed prior to that, but they were typically ten digit numbers," explained the Democratic Senator. "And people didn’t know about them. People certainly hadn’t memorized these numbers on the off chance that they had a loved one or somebody in crisis or had a crisis themselves."

Each year, as many as 45,000 people lose their life to suicide in the United States. That includes over 6,000 veterans.

"We’ve seen death by suicide become a leading cause of death for young people," said Baldwin. "We’ve seen certain segments of our population have higher rates of suicide; whether that’s veterans or people in the LGBTQ community- particularly youth, people in rural America- particularly in agriculture, who are facing financial stress. That’s very significant."

This three-digit lifeline is also open to receive text messages, if someone is unable to talk on the phone.

"I think for the younger generations who for whom texting is a major way of communicating, I think there may be some additional comfort and sense of privacy to be able to text and reach out for help."

If you or a loved one are experiencing suicidal thoughts, or are in need of mental health services, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or visit their website.