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All About the 988 Hotline

Anyone who has experienced a mental health crisis knows that it can be an incredibly difficult and confusing time. You may feel like you're losing control or that you're in danger of harming yourself or someone else. If you're experiencing a mental health crisis, it's important to seek help as soon as possible. The good news is that there are a number of resources available to you, including hotlines, crisis counselors, and therapy.

The even better news is that our country now offers an additional resource for all citizens. On July 16, 2022 the federal government officially launched a new three-digit number, 988, for anyone in a mental health crisis. This number will go directly to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-8255). Talk about a game-changer for people suffering from mental illness!

Community members can call this number if they are feeling suicidal or experiencing an acute change to their mental health symptoms. Additionally, family members and concerned friends can use 988 to request information and resources for a loved one.

This service will dramatically expand the capacity of call centers to answer calls and connect those in crisis to mental health professionals. This is a huge step forward, as police officers and EMTs are not always well trained or comfortable navigating mental health emergencies.

Did I forget to mention that this number accepts calls and texts 24/7?

When community members don’t get the help that they need, everyone suffers–families, neighborhoods, towns, and the larger community. Increasing everyone’s access to care promotes health across classes, genders, races/ethnicities, abilities, and other cultural groups. This is exactly the move that we need during Minority Mental Health Month!

We’re one step closer to saving lives and helping people get through difficult moments that feel like they will last forever.


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