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  • Writer's pictureMelissa Adkins

New Suicide Prevention Emergency Number Launching In July

Updated: May 15, 2023

There’s a new emergency mental health resource for Americans coming this summer. The new emergency call drill, “988,” will be the replacement for the existing ten-digit emergency line, “800-273-TALK.” Experts are hopeful that this new resource will become a “catalyst for a bigger change.”

They have observed and agreed that the existing ten-digit crisis number is too cumbersome for individuals to remember, especially during times when individuals or their loved ones may feel they are a threat to themselves or others. Instead of using the ten-digit number, the new number was designed to mimic regular emergency call drills, like “911.”

The hope is that more people will use it, just as they would 911. However, when someone dials 988 they would be connected with a crisis call center trained to diffuse these very sensitive mental health crises. The experts are confident that the majority of calls would be able to be diffused without any additional intervention. However, if further intervention is needed, the call center would send out a crisis team, provide a referral, or connect the caller with 911.

While this will certainly provide the mental health community the necessary change it so rightfully needs, here at AFHS, we still want to stress the importance of long-term mental health care – especially following a mental health crisis. We understand these things can happen, to anyone, at any time, even if you’ve never experienced mental health struggles before.

It is always a good idea to get the help you need, as soon as you need it, just like you would with any other emergency. But just like any other emergency, follow-up care is usually necessary and mental health crises are no different. We have a plethora of resources for new patients that can be found on our website, for both individuals as well as families. Do not hesitate to reach out in a time of need. It’s ok to not be ok.

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