Nation makes strides to improve mental health

April 28, 2022

New National Suicide Prevention hotline number

The National Suicide Prevention hotline number will be designated as “988” starting July 16, 2022. The goal of the system is to make it easier to reach services and talk to a counselor during a mental health crisis.

““Having 988 created has been able to prove that mental health crises are just as important as physical ones,” sophomore Minal Chunduru said. “Mental health has been stigmatized throughout society and creating a nationalized number decriminalizes those who need help. Having 988 and 911 on an even playing field is a step of progress necessary for both safety and acceptance.”

The existing phone number, 1-800-273-8255, will remain available to people in need even after 988 is implemented nationally.

LA to provide mental health workers to emergency calls

Los Angeles County announced that it will begin implementing a program to provide mental health workers for 911 calls on March 4. This Therapeutic Transportation program would enable trained healthcare personnel to respond to emergent, nonviolent calls and redirect situations to proper mental health services.

“We know that mental health is best treated by mental health experts,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. “Oftentimes, seeing a badge can trigger people’s trauma even more.”

People experiencing a mental health crisis are more likely to be confronted by law enforcement than receive the necessary treatment. The new pilot program will help ease this problem considering Los Angeles County Jail holds more people with serious mental health conditions than any dedicated treatment facility in the country.

Children aged 8 and should be screened for anxiety

United States Preventive Task Force announced its recommendations to screen children from 8 to 18 years old for anxiety in a draft resolution published Tuesday, April 12. The recommendation hopes to provide early intervention in order to prevent future mental health disorders.

“We are truly in a crisis situation with mental health,” Dr. Jennifer Havens, chair of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at New York University said in an interview with NPR. “Kids who are anxious are often very self-conscious and aren’t going to share this with their families or their physicians, necessarily. So screening is a very, very good idea.”

With mental health issues on the rise in all age groups, the recommendation advises screening even for children who do not show any signs or symptoms.

Newsom makes plan to help homeless into housing

Governor Newsom announced plans to help guide people into housing by enabling the civil court to provide personalized plans to assist recovery on March 3. Newsom’s CARE (Community Assistance, Recovery, and Empowerment) Court proposal hopes to provide a framework to aid those with untreated mental health and substance abuse problems.

“We are taking action to break the pattern that leaves people without hope and cycling repeatedly through homelessness and incarceration,” Governor Newsom said in a press release on March 3. “This is a new approach to stabilize people with the hardest-to-treat behavioral health conditions.”

The state Senate Judiciary Committee held a public hearing on Tuesday, April 26 regarding the proposed bill. While some homeless and civil rights groups voiced their concern about the idea of forced care and how the plan would be enforced, many senators and legislators continue to show support.

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