La Vergne Fire Chief talks mental health awareness as 988 suicide prevention hotline launches

Published: Jul. 15, 2022 at 7:54 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - The City of La Vergne’s Fire Chief has been spreading the word about the 988 suicide prevention hotline that will officially launch on July 16.

The new three-digit number will be expected to be easy to remember much like 911.

“What always struck me in my 30 years with suicide (calls) is you had a long period of time to think about something, make a plan. That has always bothered me because it could have been intercepted somewhere in between,” said Chief Ronny Beasley of La Vergne Fire and Rescue.

Fire Chief Beasley said it’s not uncommon for the city of La Vergne to respond to multiple calls in a month for suicidal ideations.

With the new 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, he said the city could possibly see a shift in those calls.

“When I was a younger person, you had to dial the direct number to the police or fire dispatch center or zero. We moved over to 911 and people that are younger than me have never known anything but 911. So hopefully the 988 number will be that same direct line,” He explained.

According to Mental Health America, nearly 50 million Americans are experiencing mental illness.

With a nationwide impact, the line will provide support for people who call across the country.

“It’s just another tool to hopefully keep you from getting to that point in your life that you truly are thinking about or having attempted that suicide”, stated Chief Beasley

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