National Suicide Prevention hotline changed to 9-8-8

The National Suicide Prevention hotline has officially changed to 9-8-8, resembling the popular emergency hotline 9-1-1.

988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline has been designated the new hotline for those in a crisis and is active across the United States. Once callers dial 988, they are connected to trained counselors who listen, give support and connect callers to the appropriate resources if necessary.

On top of the 988 Lifeline number for students to use, Texas Tech offers programs such as the Risk Intervention and Safety Education organization (RISE) to help students that are in dangerous situations or need mental health help.

Aubrey Brozo, program coordinator for peer education and outreach at RISE, said the RISE organization included the new Lifeline number in their presentations for the classes they teach.

"We do have it in our presentations,” Brozo said. “So every presentation that we give to classes on every single one of them, even if it's not necessarily a presentation about mental health, we sort of have that hotline number.”

Brozo said the organization helped over 35,000 students from summer last year until the end of spring this year.

"Out of the 35,043 students, we served 3,728 students with topics relating to depression and suicide,” Brozo said.

RISE offers a program called Raider Recharge where students can attend an one on one coaching session that focuses on mental wellness with the organization's graduate assistants.

“So while our grad assistants are not licensed mental health professionals, they offer coaching so they can focus on if a student is struggling in any aspect of wellness,” Brozo said. “So whether that's like stress management, or finances, or maybe just homesickness, or any of the aspects of wellness are affected.”

Brozo said RISE also works closely with the Student Counseling Center that deals with more serious mental health issues of students.

“If a student were to come into the office in a crisis and are experiencing any sort of mental health crisis, we would automatically walk them over to the counseling center,” Brozo said.

Haley Wallace, the Program Manager of Communications, Marketing and Design at RISE, said it’s important to reach out for people. Wallace said if someone doesn’t reach out, then no one knows how to help them.

“I think a lot of people are embarrassed or closed off about their emotions and mental health,” Wallace said. “It's really important to destigmatize that everyone has struggled with their mental health in different ways.”

Wallace said when someone reaches out to a friend, knowing how to respond or act is important.

“I think a good way to respond to someone saying that they might need help is how can I support you?” Wallace said. “What does support look like for you? How can I be there for you?”

Sometimes the best support can come from just listening or comforting the person in distress. Wallace said listening to what people need in certain situations can be a great way to show support.

“If you're venting to a friend, maybe you don't want them to chime in with advice. Maybe you just want an ear and someone to care about you,” Wallace said. “I think it's really important to establish those boundaries of what people need in what situations and just be transparent about that." 

For more information about Raider Recharge contact RISE to set up an appointment by email at RISE@ttu.edu or by phone call at 806.742.2110.

The previous lifeline number (1-800-273-8255) will also be available to use for those in distress.

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