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Ohio now using 988 Suicide and Crisis Hotline

Published: August 31, 2022 Author: Austin Amburgey

Ohio University students – and everyone else – now have a new number to call if they are in crisis or having suicidal thoughts. People can now dial 988 to reach the 988 Suicide and Crisis Hotline – formerly known as the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.

It’s one of a range of options available to students at Ohio University who may be struggling, or those who know people who are struggling, and OHIO is offering opportunities for those who want to help those in need. National Suicide Prevention Week spans from Sept. 4-10, providing an opportunity to talk about a sensitive issue that has become more and more prevalent and acknowledged in the world. It makes it a perfect time to shine some light on some programs available to those in need in the Bobcat community.

“It’s so important for people to talk about mental health, which only encourages people to get the help they need,” said Gillian Ice, Ph.D., special assistant to the president for public health. “The new hotline number is a most welcome addition to the services provided by Counseling and Psychological services and we offer a variety of ways to get help on the Ohio University campus.”

Elevated to the same status as 911, mental health emergencies can now be quickly addressed with an easy to remember three-digit code, allowing for swift outreach in moments of danger. Other similar crisis hotlines, both virtual and over the phone, and information related to what a crisis can look like can be found at https://www.ohio.edu/counseling/crisis. OHIO students in crisis or with an urgent need can also call Counseling and Psychological Services to speak to a counselor at 740-593-1616; press one to speak to a counselor regardless of the hour.

To help us all recognize the signs of mental health crises, Public Health Operations and the Office of Health Promotions are partnering with NAMI to provide Mental Health First Aid training for faculty, staff and students. If interested in participating in future training, please contact pho@ohio.edu.

Ohio University has taken steps to provide students with resources related to mental health, especially in the last few years. Often those in times of behavioral health crisis struggle to seek out much-needed aid. The Student Review and Consultation committee provides a pathway allowing for those around affected individuals to help them get help when they need it most. Students can also get involved in the Bandana Project, where students pledge to talk about mental health and suicide openly and help their peers feel supported. Those taking the pledge wear a bandana and can help others connect with mental health resources. Students can also directly connect with Counseling and Psychological Services in times of need.

For a more holistic approach, OHIO also has the THRIVE initiative, focused on generating a positive sense of well-being in all students and faculty. It recognizes the need for a more personal approach in every individual case. You can view the initiative and take steps to improve your and your campus’ well-being at https://www.ohio.edu/well-being.

For those looking to take an active stance in the fight against suicide by giving others counsel, training for the purpose of working at these hotlines is becoming available. Ohio has the goal of being able to serve 90% of all crisis calls and texts coming from Ohio residents by Ohio residents. Training is available online through The Ohio State University College of Social Work, with more to eventually come.