“CALL 988! CALL 988!”

There has been a line spoken in a number of comical feature films where a character becomes involved in some form of emergency situation. This character would run around in a frantic within his surroundings (as a character of this type tends to be of the male species) saying in a semi-panic yet comical mode, “Call 911! Call 911”! For some reason, this seems to be a plot point depicted in 1990’s-era film releases, perhaps in a rom-com of some sort(?)

Well, add “988” to the phone numbers to call for emergency assistance–not for fire prevention, law enforcement, an ambulance, or any other service that’s used for emergency status. This number is for the prevention of suicide!

On July 16th, the Federal Communication Commission (FCC), the federal branch that regulates radio, television, and telephone systems and services, has announced that all phone services operating in the USA would allow callers for a direct link to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline no later than two years of the announcement date-July 16th, 2022.

Previously, if one wanted to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, one had to call their toll-free number at 1-800-273-8255 (1-800-273-TALK) and going through a various series of prompts. But this easy to remember three-digit number would be a fastest and most direct way to call for this form of assistance.

More details on this measure can be obtained through an official press release made available through the FCC at https://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-designates-988-national-suicide-prevention-lifeline.

It isn’t a real surprise that this form of emergency assistance would become easier to obtain to those that have an immediate desire to use it. Although this writer doesn’t necessarily know if this new system has been in the works for some time, it is in response to the results of the increase of levels of anxiety many have are facing for the past six months thanks to the rise, fall, and rise (so far) of the crisis with the shorthanded name of COGIV-19.

Since that time, many people has had their jobs and sources of income altered. Some are in a work-from-home phase. Many have been furloughed. Others were laid off for their places of employment with the notion that they may never return. Companies both big and small have filed for bankruptcy protection, although many are still functioning as normal due to the virus. (As of this writing, the parent company behind Lord & Taylor has been one of the more recent causalities!)

Around this time, school would be back in session from pre-kindergarden through college level. Many schools and institutions hold limited in-person classes, while others are exclusively online. The portal “Zoom” became the app of the year (perhaps of the decade?) where anyone and everyone has been meeting online for events ranging from bible studies groups to live sex shows(!!) Yours truly have been part of Zoom meetings with others for some time, sometimes as many as five meetings in a row! (No kidding!!)

Although meeting online is fine for what it is, one of the most common caveats people have been expressing from on-line meetings is the lack of opportunity to meeting others in person for real, rather that through blurry images and seeing others in unimpressive poses. (i.e. A view looking upward of their faces with a great view of their inner nostrils!)

But getting back to the anxiety for the moment. The notion of people feeling isolated and lonely has been brewing for many years before. Social media has taken the rap for the cause of this dilemma for some time. People going through their Facebook accounts would see their “friends” taking part in activities and events that the viewer were not aware of, let alone invited to, giving the phrase “fear of missing out” a.k.a FOMO into the modern American language lexicon. In the U.K., there is a Ministry of Loneliness whose assessment is to encourage others in some kind of social activity, even administrating suggestions on how one can keep in touch other others through current social distancing measures.

And speaking of sorts, social distancing should not become confused with social isolation. One can be with others in person in person and as for real. Just as long as one take simple measures, such as using the standard six feet rule and donning masks. (Awkward yet important!) One can be creative in this method. Recently, yours truly viewed at a nearby park a softball game where the players were on one team donning blue masks with the L.A. Dodgers logo, while the opposite team were with red masks with the L.A. (California) Angles logo in its center. (Crosstown rivalries at play perhaps?)

In spite of everything, it appears that those that are feeling where there is no hope for themselves will have an option at their disposal. So in the meantime, keep these options at bay as they will indeed be available to serve its purposes.
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