Dial “988” Mental Health Hotline is Up and Running

By the South Orange Police Dept., the CPC and CC&J

People experiencing a mental health crisis now have a new way to reach out for help in the U.S. as of July 16, 2022: they can simply call or text the numbers 9-8-8.

The South Orange Police, Community Care & Justice, the CPC and the Village of South Orange encourage residents to utilize this hotline and spread the word.

Modeled after 911, the new three-digit 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline has been designed to be a memorable and quick number for people who are suicidal or are having any kind of mental health crisis and connects them with a trained mental health professional.

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

The Biden administration has invested more than $400 million into beefing up crisis centers and other mental health services to support the 988 system. The primary goal of the new number is to make it easier for people to call for help. Lawmakers and mental health advocates also see this launch as an opportunity to transform the mental health care system and make care easily accessible everywhere in the United States.

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