With El Paso County leading the state in suicides, experts hope “988″ will help
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - Last year 176 people in El Paso County lost their lives to suicide per the County Coroner. According the the state Office of Suicide Prevention this was the most in the state.
Cassandra Walton with the Pike’s Peak Suicide Prevention Partnership hopes tomorrow’s change to the “988″ number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline will help save lives in the area.
“I think the implementation of 988 is a big deal. I think that it’s a much easier number to remember the than the long 844 Number. I’m excited to see more people accessing services.”
Walton has lived in Colorado Springs her whole life and has seen the impact of suicide first hand.
“I am a Colorado Springs native. We are the city that experiences the most suicide in the state. We are also a city that has a ton of resources that people don’t know about.”
“988″ will also connect you to the veteran crisis line. Last year 30% of people who lost their lives to suicide in El Paso County were either active duty military members or had prior military experience.
While she is hopeful about the change, Walton feels it is important to establish the difference between the new number and 911.
“I want folks to remember that you would still call 911 for the emergencies that you would normally call 911 for, even if there is a mental health aspect.”
“988 should be reserved for what you would always call the crisis line for. Which is “I may be having thoughts of suicide.” “I’m feeling like I really need to talk to someone” or “someone I know is really struggling with these things and I need help.””
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