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Help is on the Way: A New Crisis Service

August 31, 2021
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International Risk Management Institute (IRMI) reports in its Expert Commentary that a new three digit call service - 988- is being set up to handle mental health crises. The post is at https://www.irmi.com/articles/expert-commentary/988-the-future-of-crisis-services.

The new service builds on the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and the Crisis Text Line. The advantages of 988 are:

  • It's easier to remember than the current 800 number, so more people will use it to access mental health crisis support.
  • It puts mental health issues on the same level as community safety.
  • 911 calls to police often trigger inappropriate responses to people with mental health crises.
  • Less fear and more compassion in delivering services.

The law to create 988 was passed in late 2019. It needs funding and infrastructure support to work. Unfortunately the line will not be available for another year. Getting it operational as soon as possible should be a high priority.