Your actions matter with First Responders

In the last year, Alex’s friend led a city-wide petition to require that first responders - including law enforcement, paramedics, and Emergency Medical Technicians - are trained in how to effectively respond to those experiencing mental health crises and refer them to appropriate services.

Alex learned so much from their friend’s efforts, including that in the United States, first responders are often the first on the scene when someone is in a mental health crisis and effective training could be the difference between life or death.

Alex decided to sign the petition and was thrilled to learn about a soon-to-be-launched 9-8-8 crisis line phone number that anyone will be able to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for mental health emergencies.

Dialing 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) connects you to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Callers can speak with a trained crisis counselor who may validate their experience, create a safety plan, and connect them to a mental health professional in their area. Beginning in 2022, 9-8-8 will directly access the hotline.

Ideas for Taking Action

It’s your turn to send silence packing when someone in your community is in crisis! Here are three ways to take action today:

Educate yourself on warning signs and what resources are available in your area. You can learn about local resources by Googling your area and mental health resources or visiting your campus’ health resources website.

Research how first responders are addressing mental health within your community. Applaud and thank them for the work they are doing well and/or brainstorm with others on how they can improve so that you may be able to advocate for the change that you would like to see. 

Learn what actually happens when someone calls a crisis line and correct common misconceptions your friends or family have if they ever occur by reading this blog post.