How Toll Free Numbers Promote Public Health and Safety
Vanity and easy-dialtoll free numbers have intrinsic value: they are simply easy to remember. Not only are they memorable for what they spell out (such as 1-800-HOMECARE), the 800 prefix is also the most widely recognized prefix in the country. Little wonder, then, that these numbers are frequently used by government agencies and non-profit organizations as part of their community outreach and awareness programs. Toll Free Numbers Promote Public Health
Public health initiatives cover a wide range of medical and mental health concerns, from assisting people with addiction to raising awareness about potential dangers for people of all ages. Toll free numbers play an important role connecting diverse public health organizations with the millions of people who need their help every year. The following examples cover just some of the areas in which 800 numbers serve to promote public health.Immunization
National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are reachable at (800) CDC-INFO (232-4636). There, callers can access information about immunizations, what’s required, what’s recommended, as well as receive information on vaccine safety. The NCIRD also provides information on where to receive a flu shot.
Alcohol and Drug Referral
Substance abuse is a major health crisis in the U.S. It accounts for around half a million deaths each year, and is the leading cause of preventable diseases. Given the severity of the crisis, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHA) promotes an alcohol and drug referral helpline at (800) 662-HELP (4357). The Helpline received 573,946 calls in 2015, which represents nearly 48,000 calls per month. In 2016, the Helpline call volume increased to an average of over 65,000 calls per month.
Cancer Information and Awareness
Since 1975, National Cancer Institute's Cancer Information Service has fielded calls to answer questions about cancer, treatment options and availability, and to serve as a resource to those either facing the disease and their families. The institute's helpline -(800) 4-CANCER (422-6237) - provides accurate, up-to-date, and reliable information on cancer that is easy to understand. Information available through the helpline includes:
- cancer research and clinical trials
- how to find cancer treatment centers
- cancer prevention
- risk factors and symptoms
- early detection, diagnosis, and treatment
- living with cancer
- tissue donation
- quitting smoking
The National Cancer Institute also has a quit-smoking helpline at (877) 44-U-QUIT (448-7848). How Toll Free Numbers Are Used to Improve National Safety
In addition to public health services, toll free numbers work well to raise awareness about issues of national safety and personal wellness. The sections below explore some of these applications and the different ways in which a memorable number can be used to promote good causes and protect the most vulnerable members of society.
There are several organizations dedicated to public safety. First is the National Program for Playground Safety, reachable at (800) 554-PLAY (554-7529). They specialize in ensuring playgrounds at public schools, or any schools who receive public funding, abide by the national regulations for playground safety. This includes public parks. More broadly, the National Safety Council, reachable at (800) 621-7615, offers information on everything from safety tips while Trick or Treating, to promoting safe driving through driver education courses. Some of the work they do to promote public safety includes active shooter training, forklift safety, prescription drug safety, among many others. Suicide Prevention
One of the most renowned toll free numbers in the country is the suicide prevention lifeline. This is a national hotline dedicated to taking calls from those who are considering taking their own lives. Since 2005, the hotline — (800) 273-TALK (273-8255) — has taken over 5 million calls in the U.S. Since text-enabling their toll free number, they have also been able to chat with this win need via text message and direct them to the resources they need.
The National Child Abuse Hotline aims to prevent child abuse through their (800) 4-A-CHILD (422-4453) phone number. Callers can expect to receive crisis intervention, information, and referrals to thousands of emergency, social service, and support resources.
Other Health and Safety Helplines
There are numerous ways in which toll free numbers are being used every day to promote public health and safety. The following are other notable and memorable phone numbers used to improve awareness of the health and safety topics they cover:
- American Liver Foundation(800) GO-LIVER (465-4837)
- American Lung Association(800) LUNG-USA (586-4872)
- National Stroke Association(800) STROKES (787-6537)
- National Domestic Violence Hotline (800) 799-SAFE (799-7233)
- National Adoption Center(800) TO-ADOPT (862-3678)
- National Marrow Donor Program®(800) MARROW-2 (627-7692)
For a complete list of government agencies usingtoll free numbers to promote public health and safety, visit Health.gov here.
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