weather icon Mostly Cloudy

State starts 988 hotline for mental health emergencies

If you or a loved one is in crisis, dial 988.

Effective July 16, people with a mental health emergency can call, text or chat 988 and connect with trained suicide prevention and mental health crisis lifeline counselors. The 3-digit direct number is available 24/7 where counselors provide free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.

Did you know the suicide rate in the U.S. has increased 30 percent since 1999, that one in five people above the age of 12 experience a mental health condition, and that suicide is now the second leading cause of death for people ages 10-34?

For every one person who dies by suicide annually, 316 people seriously consider suicide but go on to live.

The Trust for America’s Health, based in Washington, D.C., published in its annual report that deaths associated with alcohol, drugs and suicide took the lives of 186,763 Americans in 2020, a 20 percent one year increase in the combined death rate and the highest number of substance misuse deaths ever recorded for a single year.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Vital Statistics System, in 2020 Nevada reported a 26 percent drug overdose death rate and an 18.2 percent suicide rate. Like so many other states, Nevada lacks a strong mental health and treatment infrastructure.

In October 2020, the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act of 2020 was signed into law and required the Federal Communications Commission to establish 988 as the new, nationwide, 3-digit phone number for Americans in crisis to connect with suicide prevention and mental health crisis counselors. The rules require all phone service providers to direct all 988 calls to the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by July 16. The lifeline answered more than 2.1 million calls and 234,671 chats in 2020.

The 988 crisis help line will:

■ Connect a person in a mental health crisis to a trained counselor who can address their immediate needs and help connect them to ongoing care.

■ Reduce health care spending with more cost-effective early intervention.

■ Reduce use of law enforcement, public health and other safety resources.

■ Meet the growing need for crisis intervention.

■ Help end the stigma toward those seeking or accessing mental health care.

The help line is confidential, effective and safe.

To Your Health is provided by the staff of Boulder City Hospital. For more information, call 702-293-4111, ext. 576, or visit bchcares.org.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Biden set to visit Vegas to talk drug prices

President Biden will not be designating Avi Kwa Ame as a national monument next week, although he will still be in town to talk about prescription drug prices.

As Lake Mead declines, so do its visitation numbers

A National Park Service spokesman says it is not possible to say why visitors to Lake Mead National Recreation Area dropped off without further research.

Students witness impact of impaired driving

Shattered lives and limbs can be a consequence of choosing to drive impaired and the “Every 15 Minutes” program aims to bring that home to students and parents in high schools throughout the U.S. and Canada. The latest local iteration of the event took place Feb. 28 and March 1 at Boulder City High School.

Agency seeks power to limit residential water use

While Western states work to hash out a plan to save the crumbling Colorado River system, officials from Southern Nevada are preparing for the worst — including possible water restrictions in the state’s most populous county.

‘A nice sign’: Big Rockies snowpack may boost Lake Mead

When March began the mountains that feed the Colorado River already had seen more snow this winter than they normally would through an entire snow season.

Annual recycling event returns

With a goal to “recycle, repurpose, renew,” the annual Big Clean event will return to Boulder City on March 25.