Talk 988 and Mental Health During the Holidays: Kyle Thompson

Guest columnist Kyle Thompson is a policy assistant at the Center for Community Solutions.

As 2022 draws to a close, we find ourselves caught up in the annual shopping routine and anticipated gatherings with our loved ones.

On its surface, the holiday season presents itself as a time of joy and celebration. However, some people experience severe depression during this time of year.

As the days get darker and the nights get colder, people become cut off from the outside world and from each other. In fact, 55% of Americans I mentioned struggling With loneliness while on vacation earlier this year.

This holiday season is an opportunity for Ohioans to learn about services like 988 lifeline and engaging in conversations with family and friends about mental health.

988 and beyond

988 is a shorter three-digit lifeline that provides a wide range of services designed specifically for mental health, substance abuse, and suicide crisis. The former Suicide Prevention Hotline (1-800-273-8255) will forward calls to 988 Lifeline.

988 also has culturally informed resources for marginalized groups, including LGBT people And the neural bifurcation And the black or A native population. These resources are helpful; However, the overall effectiveness of the 988 is still limited by lack of funding.

Ohio is one of 27 states that lacks legislation to fund and implement 988. This is detrimental to many Ohioans who struggle with mental health issues and suicidal ideation.

Currently, suicide is the third leading cause of death for Ohioans ages 10 to 34—and this will continue unless decision makers work to increase 988 funding and service capacity.

The 2023-2024 state budget should prioritize 988 funding to increase the capacity of vulnerable populations. In the meantime, we should discuss mental health with our family and friends.

How do you talk about mental health?

Talking about mental health is crucial effective In achieving positive results for the well-being of the individual. Conversations about mental health are important, as they help create affirming environments.

Effective practices include respecting the boundaries of the person having a conversation, allowing the person to have emotional space to process their feelings and creating a comfortable place for discussion.

In some cases, someone may not fully talk about mental health at all, and that’s okay. The time to talk to your loved ones should be up to your (or) discretion.

How can 988 and mental health support become more effective?

In addition to funding 988, an effort must also be made to inform the public about lifeline services for vulnerable populations. Some advocates also claim b tax To support 988, which will increase funding and improve effectiveness.

Decision makers must be involved in these conversations when developing legislation.

It’s also essential to have conversations about mental health with family and friends. It’s important to create support systems with one another during a time of the year when so many people are missing out on what really matters: spreading love in our communities, catching up with loved ones and discussing mental health so we can thrive on our beauty come spring. Come.

resources:

National Helpline / Warm Line Guide

988 Lifeline: Help yourself

Free resources during the winter holidays

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