These days, Americans are more hopeful about mental health outcomes and less likely to stigmatize someone with a mental health condition, according to the American Psychological Association (https://apa.org/news/press/releases/ apa-mental-health-report.pdf). More people believe that having a mental health condition is nothing to be ashamed of (87%). And they are hopeful that people with mental health disorders can get better (86%). At the same time, polls from CNN and the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) found that 90% of Americans understand that the U.S. is experiencing a mental health crisis.

KFF reported that 35.3% of adults in Oregon reported symptoms of anxiety and/or depressive disorder in 2023, compared to 32.3% of adults in the U.S. However, many Oregonians are unable to access mental health care in a timely manner because of shortages of psychiatrists, psychologists, and marriage and family counselors, especially residents in rural areas.

These reports reflect a change in attitude about mental health conditions and may be the reason more people are willing to call the nationwide 988 Suicide and Crisis Hotline. The service now averages 11,000 calls a day, 350,000 calls monthly.

We can do our part to help improve the quality and availability of mental health services by attending public meetings, sharing our stories, and advocating for additional mental health funding.

Anyone in crisis or emotional distress can contact this three-digit number. At the other end are trained crisis counselors, who are available 24/7 to provide support, de-escalation, and referral to additional mental health resources. Callers can also contact 988 on behalf of a loved one.

Call, text, or chat! https://988lifeline.org/