Beginning Saturday, July 16, people across the country can call or text 988, the new three-digit number for mental health, substance use and suicidal crises, to connect directly to mental health support during a crisis. This new, shorter dialing code will help people more easily connect to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline network — over 200 local crisis call centers — for support during a crisis.
In Baltimore City and Baltimore County, this means people in need of mental health crisis support will only have to remember to dial 9-8-8, and will automatically be connected to 24/7 support provided by counselors at trusted call centers like Baltimore Crisis Response Inc., the Here2Help Hotline, and Affiliated Sante Group’s Crisis Hotlines.
Questions? Want to learn more? NAMI has more information available about what is and is not changing across the country with the launch of 988.
The availability of 988 is a great step to helping people in crisis and their families – but the work to improve our full crisis response system is only beginning. While the new number is now live, efforts to build the system’s local capacity in our state to help everyone in crisis will continue in the weeks, months and years to come. Our policymakers must act to build and invest in local resources so that everyone in crisis has someone to talk to (local 24/7 crisis call centers), someone to respond (mobile crisis teams consisting of mental health professionals instead of law enforcement) and somewhere to go (short term crisis stabilization options instead of relying solely emergency departments). Learn more about this vision here.
Want to help spread the word about 988? According to a recent survey by NAMI National, 80% of U.S. residents do not know what 988 is, and what the changes will mean to their ability to access mental health support. Help us lower that number when you click the button below to share social posts, flyers, and information!
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