The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates more than 700,000 people die due to suicide each year. For every suicide, many more attempt suicide or have serious suicidal ideation. Suicidal behavior profoundly impacts families and communities and remains a universal challenge with millions impacted.
September is recognized as Suicide Prevention Month, dedicated to raising awareness about suicide prevention and promoting mental health support. During this month, various organizations and individuals come together to educate the public about the signs of suicide, how to help those in crisis, and the importance of seeking help for mental health issues.
The 911 Cell Phone Bank (911CPB) is a nonprofit 501c3 organization that collects old, unused, lost, or discarded cell phones and other personal electronic devices, refurbishes them, and distributes them to law enforcement and victim agencies to assist individuals who might not otherwise have access to emergency communication services and feel trapped in their situation with no way out. These phones are programmed to dial 911, ensuring they can be used in critical situations.
Emergency Communication: Victims of domestic violence and human trafficking often find themselves in situations where they have limited or no access to communication devices. Donated cell phones can provide a lifeline for these individuals to reach out for help in emergencies. They can call law enforcement, shelters, or crisis hotlines when they need immediate assistance.
Confidentiality: Donated cell phones can be distributed to victims to maintain confidentiality. Having a separate, donated cell phone can help victims seek help without fear of their actions being discovered by their abuser.
Access to Resources: These phones can be pre-loaded with essential numbers, apps, and resources such as domestic violence hotlines, mental health support lines, legal entities, and human trafficking assistance organizations. This ensures that survivors have easy access to the resources they need to escape dangerous situations.
Safety Planning: Survivors can use these phones to create safety plans with counselors or advocates. They can document incidents of abuse, take pictures as evidence, and communicate with support networks discreetly.
Rebuilding Lives: For survivors transitioning to independence, donated cell phones can be a valuable tool for job searching, housing applications, and staying connected with support systems. Having access to a cell phone can make the process of rebuilding their lives more manageable.
Peace of Mind: Knowing that they have a means of communication and support can provide emotional relief to survivors, reducing stress and anxiety, which are critical factors in suicide prevention.
Dial 988: The 988 Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in the United States.
The National Institute of Health (NIMH) provides additional resources to help yourself or someone in need.
To donate cell phones and other devices to the 911 Cell Phone Bank:
If possible (but not required), ensure that the devices have been set back to their original factory settings. New, used, older, and broken devices are accepted.
The 911CPB guarantees complete data erasure of all electronic devices according to the DOD NIST 800-88 Rev. 1 guidelines. Items that are damaged or unusable are securely disposed of through an ISO 14001 R2 certified recycler.
Visit 911cellphonebank.org > Donate Devices to print a free shipping label and tax-deductible donation receipt.
Advocate for the donation of old cell phones to friends, family, workmates, schoolmates, and others within your community by hosting a PHONE IT FORWARD Charity Campaign at your workplace, school, or other community setting.
Visit the 911 Cell Phone Bank Frequently Asked Questions page to learn more.
By supporting these initiatives, you can contribute to raising awareness about suicide prevention, promoting mental health, and aiding survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking in their journey toward safety and healing during Suicide Prevention Month and throughout the year.
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