As part of the initiative, leading owners of open-air shopping centers across the country began installing more than 8,400 signs in September at 1,450 centers in 40 states with the aim of completing the installation by 2024.
“As property owners and developers, we recognize that our open-air shopping centers are more than just physical spaces; they are vibrant hubs within our communities. Our hope is that through this initiative, we can help further educate our visitors on this vital three-digit number and illuminate the path to emotional support for those in distress,” said Joanna Rothermel, vice president of marketing for Peterson Companies.
Seven of the leading open-air shopping center owners have collaborated for the first time to serve 42% of the U.S. population within five miles of their combined properties. “We thought it was important to partner with this group of national developers,” Rothermel added. “By leveraging our shopping centers, we have an opportunity to increase visibility and generate more awareness for the 988 Lifeline.”
“Signs of Hope” is one of multiple initiatives to raise awareness about the 988 Lifeline, launched in July 2022. Although the line was designed to help those in crisis or who are suicidal, it is available at any time for anyone who needs support. Callers are anonymous and their location is not tracked. Additionally, it now supports texts and chats.
Most importantly, callers do not have to wait long to speak with someone. “Mental health knows no bounds and impacts every local community we serve,” said Rothermel.
The program is expected to reach a significant number of people each year, including:
- A total of 251 million people visit these shopping centers each year, making 4.2 billion visits.
- Approximately 42% of the U.S. population lives within 5 miles of this portfolio of properties.
For life-saving crisis support and resources, please visit vibrant.org or 988lifeline.org. If you are in crisis and need help, please call or text 988 or chat online at 988lifeline.org/chat/. Support is also available in Spanish by texting AYUDA to 988.
Photo Courtesy of Peterson Companies