This is how the 988 suicide prevention line works – NBC Chicago

The new 988 mental health crisis number will officially launch this Saturday, and Illinois officials say increased funding will allow them to ensure calls are answered by state personnel.

Staffing has been increased at all six existing 988 call centers in Illinois in anticipation of the number change, giving residents confidence that calls will be answered in a prompt and responsive manner, according to a news release.

Thanks to the many incredible advisors who have answered the call to serve those in crisis, the expanded 988 Lifeline number will help save many lives,” Governor JB Pritzker said in a statement. “To any Illinois resident who may be struggling, please know that you are not alone. We are here to support you. You can receive assistance by dialing or texting 988.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. In 2020, nearly 46,000 people died by suicide; that’s one death every 11 minutes. The new three-digit dialing code is meant to be easier to access and remember than the 1-800-SUICIDE number, according to the 988 messaging website.

Illinois officials say they are working to fulfill the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s mandate to give those experiencing mental health crises “someone to call, someone to answer and a place to go”.

From Saturday, people in mental health crisis or emotional distress will be able to reach the National Suicide Prevention Hotline by texting or calling 988.

Those not in an immediate crisis, but seeking treatment options for mental health issues, can call 1-800-662-HELP (4357), according to state officials.

Illinois health officials said they have committed nearly $15 million to efforts to increase staffing at 988 crisis response centers. You can learn more about resources available to in-state residents by visiting Illinois’ 988 information website.

NBC Chicago

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