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Social media posts warn people not to call 988. Here's what you need to know

When the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline launched last month, many mental health providers, researchers and advocates celebrated. Although a national suicide hotline had existed for years, finally there was an easy-to-remember three-digit number for people to call, they said. The shorter number would serve as an alternative to 911 for mental health emergencies.

But not everyone felt the same way. Some advocates and people who had experiences with the mental health system took to social media to voice concerns about 988 and warn people not to call it.

Keep reading here. 


The US Mental Health Hotline Network Is Expanding, but Rural Areas Still Face Care Shortages

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s 988 phone number, which launched July 16, was designed as a universal mental health support tool for callers at any time anywhere.

But the U.S. is a patchwork of resources for crisis assistance, so what comes next isn’t universal. The level of support that 988 callers receive depends on their ZIP code.

Keep reading here. 

The new 988 mental health hotline is live. Here's what to know

Modeled after 911, the new three-digit 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is designed to be a memorable and quick number that connects people who are suicidal or in any other mental health crisis to a trained mental health professional.

"If you are willing to turn to someone in your moment of crisis, 988 will be there," said Xavier Becerra, the secretary of the federal Department of Health and Human Services, at a recent press briefing. "988 won't be a busy signal, and 988 won't put you on hold. You will get help."

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Some states are struggling to prepare for calls to the 988 mental health crisis line

Staff at Memorial Behavioral Health in Springfield, Ill., are on call around the clock to talk with people struggling with suicidal thoughts, drug addiction or other mental health crises.

They provide a listening ear and help connect people to resources or crisis support, if needed.

Until recently, the hospital's call center was operated by on-call nurses and other clinical staff. But at times when everyone was tied up with patients, calls would go unanswered, bumping the caller to the nearest available call center, often in another state or a national backup center.

Keep reading here