988 Mental Health Crisis Hotline Rolls Out Across Country
The consolidated 988 national mental health hotline rolled out over the weekend, as part of a broader effort to fill gaps in emergency mental health response and access throughout the country. The effort, in large part spearheaded by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in conjunction with national and local partners streamlines the public’s ability to talk to a crisis counselor. Years in the making, federal and state governments have spent lots of money to prepare for the rollout, though some questions remain about different states and call centers’ ability to handle the volume of calls. The 988 lifelines, as a national helpline, functions 24/7 providing support to people in crisis. The helpline is available for both calls and text messages, giving options to people in crisis for calling for help. Health organizations and other organizations that serve individuals at risk of suicide are advised to promote the 988 helpline through community education campaigns and outreach.
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