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New Suicide Prevention Hotline Coming Soon

This post originally appeared on Kentucky Youth Advocates blog. 

Mental health support and suicide prevention resources are a critical resource for Kentuckians. Children and their families across the Commonwealth struggled with their mental health well before the isolation and other challenges brought forth by the pandemic. Coming in July, a new three-digit number for suicide response and mental health crisis care – 988 – will be available across the Commonwealth, and nationwide.

July 2022 marks the shift of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to officially become 988 – the National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline began in 2005. Funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the Lifeline is a national network of over 200 local, independent crisis centers equipped to help people in mental health related distress or experiencing a suicidal crisis via call, chat, or text. The Lifeline provides free and confidential support to people in suicidal crisis or mental health-related distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, across the U.S.

This shift to 988 represents an important movement to begin integrating mental health care into the crisis response continuum and increasing access to these vital resources. Creating a three-digit crisis line for mental health emergencies is expected to increase visibility of our mental and behavioral health providers and increase call volume to the Lifeline. This transition also highlights a need for a coordinated approach to promote this service.

Advocates, organizations, and community-based providers can help ensure this transition is successful by spreading the word about the shift to 988, happening on July 16th. Find key messages, FAQs, and more information about this transition in the SAMHSA 988 toolkit.

With this transition in how we access and provide mental health care in Kentucky, we know the full implementation of an integrated crisis response continuum will take time. We must all wok together to advocate for continued work to support the mental health of all Kentuckians.