988: Introducing the new mental health hotline in the US

Published: Jul. 16, 2022 at 6:24 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Starting today, you can get yourself or someone you love help quickly by a simple text or phone call to 988, the number that launched July 16.

Someone committed suicide every 11 minutes in the U.S. in 2020.

Administrator Doug Jackson said anyone can access the number for free 24/7.

“Imagine if your house was on fire and you didn’t know the person to call for the fire department, we are solving the problem with 988 so that when an emergency takes place in mental health that somebody knows the number to call,” Jackson said. “The state of our country and world has played into people’s mental health so we do see increases in anxiety and depression and mental health needs, ”he added.

Stacy Frohnapfel-Hasson from the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services spearheaded these planning efforts for the past 18 months.

“It’s been exciting, it’s been challenging,” she said.

Jackson says in some cases you can even expect help in person.

“About 20 percent of the calls require somebody to go out to the person that is having a crisis,” he said.

The 11-digit suicide prevention hotline is still available, but the 988 lifeline provides life crisis center phone services in English and Spanish.

Whichever one you choose, Hasson is urging Ohioans to not be ashamed of getting help.

“So we haven’t seen death by suicides increasing in Ohio but we have seen shifts,” she said.

Americans can also visit 988lifeline.org 24/7.

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