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Center owners bind together to aid suicide prevention

Zach Russell headshot
988 lifeline sign

Seven of America’s leading open-air shopping centers have come together in a project to help raise awareness about mental health resources. 

Shopping center operators Brixmor Property Group, Kimco Realty, Kite Realty Group, Peterson Companies, Regency Centers, Sterling Organization and Urban Edge Properties have teamed up  with Vibrant Emotional Health, which operates the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline for those in emotional distress. The 988 Lifeline is funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

The seven shopping center companies have installed thousands of “Signs of HOPE” to increase awareness of the 988 Lifeline. More than 8,400 signs have been installed across 1,450 shopping centers in 40 states.

“Vibrant is incredibly grateful for partnerships where we can promote awareness of the 988 Lifeline to inform, educate, and increase awareness of the Lifeline,” said Dr. Tia Dole, a suicide and crisis lifeline officer at Vibrant Emotional Health. “The goal of these partnerships is to educate individuals about the availability of mental health resources in their communities and reduce the stigma of seeking support”

The 988 Lifeline is a national network of over 215 local crisis centers that provides 24/7 emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress via phone, text, and chat to help individuals when, where and how they need it. Installation of the 12” x 18” weather-resistant metal
signs, primarily on parking lot light poles, began in September with full rollout expected by year-
end 2024. The reflective signs are visible at night and highlight the 988 number that can be dialed for those in need.

“Shopping centers are the heartbeat of many communities – spaces of connection, and now, anchors of hope,” said Kimco VP of marketing Jennifer Maisch.. “Our collaboration with Vibrant, the 988 Lifeline, and the other participating landlords is aimed at using our centers as platforms to champion mental wellbeing.”

According to Vibrant, this program is expected to reach more than 250 million people who make 4.2 billion visits to these shopping centers annually. More than 40%of the U.S. population lives
within 5 miles of this combined property portfolio.

“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,” said Peterson VP of marketing Joanna Rothermel. . Our hope is that we can help further educate our visitors about this vital three-digit number and illuminate the path to emotional support for those in distress.”

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