New National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number, 988, now accessible
Paris, Ky. (WKYT) - The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is now using the number 988 to help people who are suicidal or going through a mental health crisis. It is similar to 911, except it will connect you with a trained mental health professional. Since 911 wasn’t created or set up to deal with a mental health crisis, the goal of this number is to make calling for help simple.
“I really think having this much quicker crisis line to remember is going to help save lives,” Marcie Timmerman, with Mental Health America of Kentucky said.
She said the new three-digit number will make calling for help easier.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline received 3.6 million calls, texts, or chats.
Timmerman said when COVID-19 first hit, they saw the number of calls into their centers increase, and she expects to see that number to continue to grow.
“As far as transforming the system, there’s also pieces of 988 that help the right person respond on the ground if that’s necessary,” Timmerman said,” Most of the time, the phone call is really the service that people need.”
She said this service will allow people to talk on the phone, get the help they need, and even make future mental health appointments.
All community mental health centers in Kentucky are connected and answering this line as well. If you call in the state, you are more likely to speak to a Kentuckian.
“That was one thing that we all felt really strongly about. Bringing everyone together and bringing everyone the resources as fast as possible,” she said.
Their hope is that the number becomes well-known and is a safer alternative. The original National Suicide Prevention Lifeline phone number is also still in use.
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