The Lifeline is reaching many Americans in crisis. Since 2005, the Lifeline has answered (over/nearly) 10.43 million calls, with approximately 1 of four reporting a suicide-related problem. (see Lifeline Data Reports/Survey Results for citation)
With the VA, Lifeline serves millions of Veterans and Service members. Since signing an agreement with the VA in 2007, SAMHSA’s Lifeline connects veterans/service members to the Veterans Crisis Line. The VCL has served over 2.8m callers since 2007 Lifeline surveys of its network estimate that local centers are also serving approximately 300,000 veterans annually in their communities. (see Lifeline Data Reports/Survey Results for citation)
One national number promotes easy access to help. One number allows national media, Google, Facebook, Siri and other common referral agents to connect people in crisis to help at anytime, anywhere in the country. 75% of Lifeline callers learn of Lifeline from online resources. (see Lifeline Data Reports/Survey Results for citation)
The Lifeline works. Continuing independent evaluations of Lifeline crisis centers demonstrate that they are effective in reducing emotional distress and suicidality in callers. SAMHSA-funded evaluations also show that Lifeline follow-up calls with high risk callers are preventing suicide. (M.S. Gould, Kalafat, Munfakh, & Kleinman, 2007; M. S. Gould et al., 2017; Madelyn S. Gould et al., 2016; Kalafat, Gould, Munfakh, & Kleinman, 2007)
The Lifeline is establishing best practices for the field. Through research and expert consensus, Lifeline has established and disseminated national standards for suicide risk assessment and intervention for crisis centers across the country (Draper, Murphy, Vega, Covington, & McKeon, 2014; Joiner et al., 2007). Recent research by RAND has found that Lifeline crisis centers are better at assessing risk and reducing distress in callers than non-Lifeline centers (Ramchand et al., 2017).
Lifeline reduces health and safety resource burdens. Lifeline centers are diverting callers from unnecessary use of law enforcement, emergency and hospital inpatient resources. SAMHSA-funded analysis of Lifeline follow-up models approximate a two-fold return on investment in Medicaid dollars (Richardson, Mark, & McKeon, 2014).
Some states are under-resourced to answer Lifeline calls. While overall network answer rates are strong, some states lack centers or resources to answer calls locally, leaving national back-up centers to answer approximately 30% of all calls. This may lead to longer wait times and fewer linkages to the best local crisis, emergency or clinic care in these areas of the country. (see Lifeline Data Reports/Survey Results for citation)
Draper, J., Murphy, G., Vega, E., Covington, D. W., & McKeon, R. (2014). Helping Callers to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Who Are at Imminent Risk of Suicide: The Importance of Active Engagement, Active Rescue, and Collaboration Between Crisis and Emergency Services. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, 45, 261-270. doi: 10.1111/sltb.12128
Gould, M. S., Kalafat, J., Munfakh, J. L. H., & Kleinman, M. (2007). An evaluation of crisis hotline outcomes. Part 2: Suicidal callers. Suicide and Life Threatening Behavior, 37, 338-352.
Gould, M. S., Lake, A. M., Galfalvy, H., Kleinman, M., Munfakh, J. L., Wright, J., & McKeon, R. (2017). Follow-up with Callers to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Evaluation of Callers’ Perceptions of Care. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior. doi: 10.1111/sltb.12339
Gould, M. S., Lake, A. M., Munfakh, J. L., Galfalvy, H., Kleinman, M., Williams, C., . . . McKeon, R. (2016). Helping Callers to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Who Are at Imminent Risk of Suicide: Evaluation of Caller Risk Profiles and Interventions Implemented. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, 46(2), 172-190. doi: 10.1111/sltb.12182
Joiner, T., Kalafat, J., Draper, J., Stokes, H., Knudson, M., Berman, A., & McKeon, R. (2007). Establishing standards for the assessment of suicide risk among callers to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, 37, 353-365.
Kalafat, J., Gould, M. S., Munfakh, J. L. H., & Kleinman, M. (2007). An evaluation of crisis hotline outcomes. Part 1: Nonsuicidal crisis callers. Suicide and Life Threatening Behavior, 37, 322-337.
Ramchand, R., Jaycox, L., Ebener, P., Gilbert, M. L., Barnes-Proby, D., & Goutam, P. (2017). Characteristics and Proximal Outcomes of Calls Made to Suicide Crisis Hotlines in California. Crisis, 38(1), 26-35. doi: 10.1027/0227-5910/a000401
Richardson, J. S., Mark, T. L., & McKeon, R. (2014). The return on investment of postdischarge follow-up calls for suicidal ideation or deliberate self-harm. Psychiatric Services, 65, 1012-1019. doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.201300196
LIFELINE DATA REPORTS/SURVEY RESULTS
Call Volume Data/History. Lifeline database, Tableau Reports, processed 5/31/2017
VCL call volume. Text from About the Veterans Crisis Line, Veterans Crisis Line web site, 5/31/2017 https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/About/AboutVeteransCrisisLine.aspx
Lifeline centers serving veterans. Professional email cpmmunication from Kelly Clarke to John Draper, Novermber 29, 2016, Veterans Amendment, Lifeline Network Veterans Amendment Survey Results (attachment) and summary of results.
Lifeline sources for referral (web-based). Powerpoint presentation to Lifeline Steering Committee, June 16, 2016, “Steering Committee Orientation and Capacity Challenges.” Slide entitled: “How Did you Hear About Lifeline?”, data from Boystown National Backup, Jan-April 2015.
Percentage of Lifeline calls leaving states, answered by National Back-ups. Lifeline database, Tableau Reports, processed 5/31/2017.