9-8-8 will soon become the national Suicide Prevention Hotline for mental health emergencies. Just like 9-1-1 connects people in need of first-responders for other emergencies, U.S. residents will be able to call 9-8-8 for mental health emergencies.
Last month (Dec. 2019), the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) voted to support the establishment of a three-digit suicide prevention hotline number for people seeking emergency mental health help, much like calling 911.
Currently, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline uses a 10-digit number, 800-273-TALK (8255). That number routes callers to one of 163 crisis centers where counselors answered 2.2 million calls last year.
The 3-digit number (988) will not be operational for 18 months during the roll-out period. The first step in this process is notifying phone companies so they can set up their equipment. Then there will be a national advertising campaign to educate people on the use of this mental health help line.
For residents of California needing mental health support, there is a state-wide “warm line” available for people to talk about issues before those concerns turn into a crisis. Its free, confidential, peer support services staffed by volunteers or paid employees who have experienced mental health conditions themselves.
1-855-845-7415 is the number to call for the California warm line.
For residents of Arizona, the “warm line” is 602-347-1100, 24/7.
There is no warm line in Nevada. However, there is a warm line in New York that accepts phone calls from out of state callers. That number is 800-643-7462, 24/7.
A list of States who have “warm lines” is available at www.warmline.org or the National Alliance on Mental Health at phone number 800-950-NAMI (6264) If you need immediate help call 911.
One Minute is written by Pastor Ron Rehrer. District Counselor
for Church Workers, phone 949.433.5182; email firstname.lastname@example.org