The launch of the 988 National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline marked a significant milestone for mental-health support. A little over a year since its inception, the service has provided a lifeline to more than 5.5 million individuals seeking help in their darkest hours.

Notably, nearly a million of these calls have been directed to the dedicated Veterans Crisis Line and Military Crisis Line, underscoring the critical need for tailored mental health support for our military veterans.


A Lifeline for Heroes


“The 988 Lifeline is an important and critical resource for service members and their families who may be experiencing mental health-related distress, such as thoughts of suicide, to connect for immediate crisis intervention and confidential support,” emphasized Dr. Liz Clark, director of the Department of Defense Suicide Prevention Office. Her words reflect a deep commitment to preserving the lives and well-being of those who have bravely served their country.


The service, equipped with trained crisis counselors, offers a beacon of hope and a promise of support for our military community, encouraging them to reach out for the care and assistance they deserve. This initiative resonates with the ethos that every life is worth living, providing a tangible manifestation of our collective gratitude and responsibility towards our veterans.


Bridging the Gap with LanguageLine Solutions


The 988 Lifeline has partnered with LanguageLine Solutions to offer interpretation services in more than 240 languages. This partnership is particularly beneficial for military veterans from diverse backgrounds, ensuring that language barriers do not impede access to crucial mental health resources.


When Jamieson Brill, a crisis counselor with family roots in Puerto Rico, answers a call from a Spanish speaker, his approach underscores the heightened cultural sensitivity required in such delicate interactions. “However strong stigma around mental health concerns is in English-speaking cultures, in Spanish-speaking cultures it is triple that,” Brill noted, highlighting the cultural nuances that LanguageLine Solutions’ interpreters are trained to navigate.


Expanding Access and Awareness


The effort to publicize the 988 Lifeline and combat the stigma associated with seeking mental health support is ongoing. Maria Mouratidis, a clinical psychologist, stressed the importance of normalizing help-seeking behaviors and enhancing psychological health literacy.


For military families, resources such as the Real Warriors Campaign play a crucial role in disseminating information and reducing stigma, aligning with Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III’s goal of eliminating suicide within the military.


The 988 Lifeline serves not just as an emergency intervention but as a gateway to a spectrum of resources, including housing and food support, highlighting the holistic approach needed in addressing mental health crises. Importantly, the service is accessible to veterans, active-duty service members, and their supporters, with no requirement for enrollment in Department of Veterans Affairs benefits or military health care plans. LanguageLine provides professional interpretation support for these individuals in more than 240 languages.


The Future of Crisis Support


The overwhelming response to the 988 Lifeline illustrates the pressing need for such services. It's a clear indicator that individuals are seeking support, and thankfully, are finding it through this initiative.


As the 988 Lifeline continues to evolve, with plans to introduce multilingual text and chat services, its impact is expected to grow, reaching more individuals in need, especially within minority, refugee, and immigrant communities.


LanguageLine is proud to be part of this transformative journey. As we move forward, the collaboration between 988 and LanguageLine will continue to play a pivotal role in ensuring that no call for help goes unanswered, especially for those who have served their country with honor.

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