On July 16th, a new 3-digit number was created nationwide to help those struggling with mental health. Much like 911, which was implemented in 1968 as an emergency code here in the United States, the new number to dial OR text in the event of a mental health crisis is 988. 

WHAT IS 988 AND HOW CAN IT HELP ME?

According to apnews.com,

It is designed to be as easy to remember and use as 911, but instead of a dispatcher sending police, firefighters or paramedics, 988 will connect callers with trained mental health counselors.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number has been an 800 number for many years and will remain effective as this transition takes place and the new 3-digit number starts to catch on. However, 988 is a quicker and easier number to call or text if you are experiencing mental health distress and need to speak to a trained counselor.

Serious female call center operator in headset talking with customer
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This new hotline will be available to call or text 24/7 as staffers are available to help anyone seeking help at any time.

9-8-8 was created as an easier way for people to remember. The 1-800 number that has been around since the early 2000s made it somewhat difficult for a person in a distressing situation to remember, making it more difficult to quickly get the help they need.

According to apnews.com,

The federal government has provided over $280 million to help states create systems that will do much more, including mobile mental health crisis teams that can be sent to people’s homes and emergency mental health centers..

If you or someone you know are ever in a mental health crisis, please do not hesitate to use this new 3-digit number, 9-8-8. You will immediately be connected to counselors who will listen, provide support and connect you to additional mental health resources if necessary.

Here are some tips for self-care during the pandemic:

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