The Tulare County Suicide Prevention Task Force (SPTF) would like everyone to be aware that the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is coming to Tulare County, and there is tremendous need, given recent Tulare County statistics:
Behind each of these data points, there are people, families, and communities who have been impacted. Yet, in the face of these urgent realities, there is hope.
On July 16, 2022, we in Tulare County will join the rest of the United States in beginning to use the 988 dialing code. 988 will be the new three-digit number for calls (multiple languages), text, or chat (English only) that connects people to the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, where compassionate, accessible care and support are available for anyone experiencing mental health-related distress. The chat feature will be available through the Lifeline’s website. People can use 988 if they are having thoughts of suicide, mental health or substance use crises, or any other kind of emotional distress. People can also dial 988 if they are worried about a loved one who may need crisis support.
The Lifeline works! Since the Lifeline began in 2005, it has served as an invaluable resource, helping thousands of people overcome suicidal crisis or mental health-related distress every day. With the transition to 988, these life-saving services will be even easier to reach.
In preparation for the transition of the Lifeline to 988, the federal government and partners from across many industries in the public and private sectors are working together to provide guidance and resources to make our work a little easier.
While this is an exciting time to reimagine how we provide crisis services in the U.S., the full vision of a transformed crisis care system with 988 at its core will not be built overnight. Transformation of this scale will take time, and we must all work together to make it happen. It is important that we speak with one voice about 988 to ensure clear understanding about what it is and how it will work. As SAMHSA continues updating its partner toolkit and providing guidance on 988 implementation, we look forward to working with all of you to bring these critical services to our community.
Communities need prevention services to promote mental health and address problems long before they become acute to effectively reduce suicides and suicidal behavior. And, communities need a coordinated system of services to effectively respond to crisis situations, as well as a forum where the issue of suicide can be addressed.
The Tulare County Suicide Prevention Task Force (SPTF) is fully funded through the Tulare County Mental Health Services Act: Prevention and Early Intervention Plan. The SPTF functions as a multi-disciplinary collaborative, combining representatives from government, education, community-based service providers, and community members. Training, activities, and education are provided throughout our community to increase awareness of the signs and symptoms of suicide risk as well as prevention and early intervention best practices.