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New Poll Sheds Light on U.S. Adult Understanding of Suicide Prevention and Awareness of 988

BY: Trevor News
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Nearly 7 in 10 people have not seen, read, or heard much of anything at all about 988 — the new three-digit number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline — going active in July.

1 in 10 adults personally know an LGBTQ person who has died by suicide.

April 20, 2022 — The Trevor Project, the world’s largest suicide prevention and mental health organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) youth, released a new poll today that shares insight into U.S. adults’ understanding of suicide prevention, impressions around mental health emergency responses, and awareness of 988, the new three-digit dial code for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline going live on July 16, 2022. The poll was conducted by Morning Consult between Feb. 18-19, 2022 among a national sample of 2,210 U.S. adults. The full polling data can be found here.

The poll found an overwhelming majority of U.S. adults (85%) agreed that suicide is preventable and one in ten adults (9%) reported personally knowing an LGBTQ person who died by suicide. When asked about 988, nearly 1 in 3 adults (31%) report seeing, reading, or hearing about it. This is particularly true among younger adults and parents. Conversely, nearly 7 in 10 people (69%) had not seen, read, or heard much of anything at all about 988.

“Suicide is preventable and it’s encouraging to see 85% of adults agree with this fact. But we need to do more to improve our nation’s suicide prevention efforts and reduce the number of deaths by suicide, including for particularly marginalized groups like LGBTQ youth. That’s why The Trevor Project exists — to create a world where all LGBTQ young people feel supported and can lead healthy, happy lives,” said Amit Paley (he/him pronouns), CEO & Executive Director of The Trevor Project. “These findings also emphasize a clear need to continue raising public awareness on the upcoming activation of 988 in July and to use its launch as an opportunity to reimagine our nation’s crisis care system. Responses to mental health emergencies must be comprehensive, widely available, and culturally competent.”

The poll also found that adults place greater trust in emergency medical services, psychologists, and social workers to respond to a mental health crisis compared to the police. Respondents were asked, “If you or someone you know was experiencing a mental health crisis and you called for help, how much do you trust, if at all, each of the following to be a part of a first response?” The findings are below.

  • Emergency Medical Services: 85% trust, 14% not trust
  • Psychologists: 77% trust, 23% not trust
  • Social Workers: 70% trust, 30% not trust
  • Police officers: 64% trust, 36% not trust

The level of trust placed in police officers to be part of the first response in a mental health crisis varies dramatically by age and race. Gen Zers and Black adults are more evenly divided on whether they would trust police officers while white adults, older adults, and Republicans are deeply trusting of them. 

A majority of adults (68%) also reported that they were “knowledgeable about suicide prevention,” while 30% reported that they were “not knowledgeable.” Younger adults, specifically Gen Zers, parents, Black adults, and Hispanic adults were all significantly more likely than the average adult to indicate they are knowledgeable about suicide prevention. Conversely, baby boomers, non-parents, suburban, and rural adults were all less knowledgeable than average.

If you or someone you know needs help or support, The Trevor Project’s trained crisis counselors are available 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386, via chat at TheTrevorProject.org/Get-Help, or by texting START to 678678. 

About The Trevor Project

The Trevor Project is the world’s largest suicide prevention and mental health organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people. The Trevor Project offers a suite of 24/7 crisis intervention and suicide prevention programs, including TrevorLifeline, TrevorText, and TrevorChat as well as the world’s largest safe space social networking site for LGBTQ youth, TrevorSpace. Trevor also operates an education program with resources for youth-serving adults and organizations, an advocacy department fighting for pro-LGBTQ legislation and against anti-LGBTQ rhetoric/policy positions, and a research team to discover the most effective means to help young LGBTQ people in crisis and end suicide.

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