L.A. CADA reminds you that many students in our local neighborhoods are returning to school with serious issues of anxiety and depression. These challenges may be new or still lingering after two long years of social isolation resulting from COVID-19 pandemic. Other concerns of family substance use and mental health disorders, divorce, economic stress, emotional/physical abuse, and bullying by peers can push youth over the edge, imagining that suicide is their only answer. Let them know that help is available at the touch of a few phone numbers.
The new system works like calling 911. But by entering 988 in their phone, young people (and the adults in their lives) can connect with the new Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which is now active 24 hours a day, nationwide. Calling 988 (or 1-800-273-TALK) puts the caller in touch with a trained and caring counselor. Research show that people who are having thoughts of suicide feel relief when someone asks after them in a caring way. Despite the false belief that talking about suicidal ideation with a loved one increases their chance of committing suicide, studies suggest that acknowledging and talking about it actually reduces their chances of doing it.
We can all work to prevent suicide. If you know someone who is feeling that life is no longer worth living, be the one who cares enough to ask, “Are you thinking of killing yourself?” It’s a hard conversation, but it has a big payoff. Next, provide support, including the new Lifeline number – 988. This national network of local crisis provides free and confidential emotional support seven days a week throughout the United States.
Los Angeles Centers for Alcohol and Drug Abuse provides publicly-funded (free) services for youth, family, and adult counseling. If you need us, we’re here at (562) 906-2676.