Access to Mental Health Crisis Services Improves

988 Becomes Available 7/16/2022

These days access to mental health services can be difficult to access quickly, especially when someone is in crisis.

So the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), in partnership with the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Veterans Affairs, is rolling out the new three-digit dialing code to connect people to the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. According to their website, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, “The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals in the United States.”

Beginning July 16, 2022, anyone can dial 988 from anywhere in the country and receive free and confidential mental health or substance use crisis support.

Anyone who is experiencing a mental health need, including thoughts of suicide, mental health or substance use crisis, or any other kind of emotional distress. Friends and family members can also dial 988 if they are worried about someone experiencing a crisis.

Access to 988 will be available by phone, text, or chat. Support is available in English or Spanish and other languages with translation support.

As a mental health provider, I am excited to see an easy way for people to access support when needed. In 2021, Lifeline received 3.6 million calls, chats, and texts. That number is expected to at least double within the first full year after the 988 transition.

Please share this information with your friends and family members.

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Seeking Health and Happiness One Day at a Time.

Marcy Berg is a writer and therapist living in the Pacific Northwest and exploring thoughts on mental health, wellness, and happiness. She can be found at Growing Through Life, Seeking Greener Pastures, and The Plucky Therapist.

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