988: What Is It?

The launch of 988, a mental distress and suicide prevention hotline, is set to go live on Saturday, July 16, 2022. Anyone in the United States can call or text the three digit number to hold a conversation with a trained professional with experience in mental health crisis de-escalation. The professional will be able to direct the patient to appropriate treatment options.

The 24-hour hotline will be fully operated by employees and volunteers with the experience mentioned above.

988 is meant to provide resources to people experiencing any kind of mental health crisis, including depression, anxiety, addiction, suicidal thoughts, etc.

Why does this matter?

988 is being organized to take the weight off of emergency room staff seeing an increase in patients going through a mental health crisis. The new number will provide an easier way for patients to obtain mental health care.

What can I expect if I have to call?

When calling 988, a person should expect to talk to a call center operator. The operator will direct the patient to resources or, if needed, dispatch emergency services. While not every state has a set up call center, you will be able to reach a counselor, just by calling.

Counselors will be able to talk through a patient's cause for the call. Whether that be because of an illness, family trauma, physical trauma, etc.

According to The New York Times, calls may last 15-20 minutes.

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