WESTFORD — New bumper stickers – to inform residents of the new 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline – will be placed on a number of town-owned vehicles.
988 has been designated as the new three-digit dialing code to connect callers with the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. The new code took was launches on July 16, 2022.
Since the launch of the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, contact and answer rates have risen dramatically while the average speed to answer has dropped, according to Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services data.
Comparing Dec. 2021 to Dec. 2022, calls answered rose by 48%, chats answers increased by 263% and texts answered increased by 1,445%. The average speed to answer across all contacts decreased dramatically from 172 seconds to 44 seconds.
The stickers will be placed on certain vehicles owned by the Westford Fire Department, Westford Police Department as well as other town vehicles.
The stickers were sponsored by the See a New Sun Foundation, an organization to raise awareness over suicide and substance abuse.
Nancy Cook, a member of the foundation, noted that she hopes the stickers “bring awareness” to the new lifeline.
Westford’s new Community Wellness department hopes the program will inform residents of the new resource.
“I appreciated Nancy including the Community Wellness Department in the efforts to make residents aware of the 988 resources,” Nicole Laviolette, Westford’s Community Wellness Coordinator, told WestfordCAT.
She continued, “we want residents to know they are not alone, and they can get help by calling 988. The stickers created and sponsored by SANS are wonderful visual to make residents aware of the supportive resource.”