It’s mental health awareness month: A free resource aims to prevent suicide

May is mental health awareness month, and there’s a new push to remind people of a free resource that could help save lives.

The National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline provides vital resources for anyone who dials 988, but according to a Pew study, only about 13% of U.S. adults know it exists.

“We’ve become concerned about an increase in suicidal thinking and suicide attempts. This has gotten people’s attention, and it’s a tremendous concern,” said Dr. Bernard Arons, behavioral health medical director at Amerigroup DC.

He said that suicides have spiked over the last two decades, especially among youth ages 12 to 17, and 18- to 35-year-olds.

The study also highlighted a need for increased awareness about the lifeline service within minority communities.

“With the kind of support that people can reach out for through the 988 lifeline, we hope to have an impact on that throughout the country,” Arons stressed.

While the stigma around discussing mental health has been reduced, Arons hopes to remind people the goal is to create access to crucial services.

“We can now hopefully reduce the conditions people face when they do get depressed and unfortunately think about suicide,” he said.

Learn more about the suicide and crisis lifeline on the 988 Lifeline website.

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Melissa Howell

Melissa Howell joined WTOP Radio in March 2018 and is excited to cover stories that matter across D.C., as well as in Maryland and Virginia. 

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