National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Launched
Effective July 16, 2022, people experiencing a mental health crisis will be able to call or text a three-digit number, 988, to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and connect with mental health professionals trained to respond to such emergencies. The hotline will provide 24/7 free and confidential emotional support around the country to those in mental health distress, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline website explains.
The new number will connect the caller to a certified crisis center in the area where the call is placed, according to the website. The hotline is made up of a network of 200 local crisis centers around the country. With the rise in mental health utilization, employers and plan sponsors are likely to promote the availability of this solution to plan members. The three-digit number is expected to be easier to remember in times of crisis than the 10-digit 800 number currently handled by the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. It is also meant to streamline mental health responses so people can get the urgent help they need much faster than by calling 911, which generally connects callers to law enforcement agencies rather than mental health professionals. Its launch comes about two years after the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act passed in 2020 to designate 988 as the universal number for the national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline.
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