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National suicide prevention hotline possibly changing to 3 numbers

(WJRT)
Published: Jul. 25, 2018 at 5:38 PM EDT
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(07/25/18) -- Three numbers could potentially save someone from taking their own life. The U.S. House just passed a bill that would create a 3-digit suicide prevention line.

Currently that number is 10-digits long and is 1-800-273-TALK.

Mental health experts say this is a huge step forward for suicide awareness. Condensing the 10 digit number down to 3, means it's much easier to remember and could potentially save more lives.

"We want to make sure that it's done standardized, nationwide and make sure that it's well funded with well trained people if we're going to make this work, so my hope is that if they do initiate this, that they really think clearly on what is the best way to serve people that are in that life and death crisis," said Barb Smith, Executive Director for Suicide Resource & Response Network in Saginaw.

Smith has been doing suicide prevention work for 29 years. She says in those 29 years, a lot of progress has been made to bring about awareness of suicide, but more can be done.

Shortening the current crisis line to 3 digits is one way.

Smith says better mental health care services and facilities are needed for those with mental illness.

She also says just talking about it more and creating dialogue can mean the difference between life and death for someone.

Also, paying close attention to people's behaviors.

"People want to assume its one thing, one moment, one time, but usually its an accumulation of things, and it's very complicated and complex, so for one person, it could be impulsive in whatever situation is going on in their mind in the moment, but what we know is that there had been a series of thoughts prior to this day," Smith said.

The bill is currently awaiting president Trump's signature.

Barb will be hosting the annual Walk For Hope Depression and Suicide awareness 5k Walk and Run at Northwood University August 12th.

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