For children aged 10 to 14 in Ohio, suicide is the leading cause of death, surpassing even motor vehicle and gun deaths. It is also one of the leading causes of death for Americans in their 20s.

In 2020, there was one death by suicide every 11 minutes in the United States.

To help combat to these appalling statistics, starting Saturday, July 16, Ohio will join the rest of the United States in beginning to use the 9-8-8 dialing code, which will directly connect people to the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

The 9-8-8 project builds on the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline system and will provide free and confidential support to Ohioans in a behavioral health crisis 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It is a direct connection to compassionate, accessible care and support for anyone experiencing mental health-related distress, whether that is thoughts of suicide, mental health or addiction concerns, or any other kind of emotional distress.

Research shows that most calls to Lifeline can be managed and resolved through a consultation on the phone; however, if a person needs an emergency, in-person response, 9-8-8 counselors are trained to connect the person in crisis with a mobile response team, which may be a behavioral health team or first responder team (or a combination of both) who will meet the person at their place of crisis.

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