September 16th, 2022
Launched on the 16th of July, 2022, the new 988 Mental Health Hotline was modeled after the emergency hotline, 911. Designed to be easy to remember, the hotline was created to enable persons who are suicidal or have a suicidal person around them contact a mental health expert during a mental health crisis. People can now easily get access to a trained mental health counselor through a text or call to the 988 hotlines.
Although it is still a new and innovative step towards improving response to mental health issues in the US, a whopping $400 million has gone into encouraging crisis centers and mental health services to support the new 988 operations.
The arrival of the 988 Mental health hotline comes with several benefits. For example, in the past, most people who found themselves in a mental health crisis usually contacted 911. The problem with that decision then was that the 911 hotline was never designed to attend to Mental health challenges.
This resulted in scenarios where people who needed mental health services either ended up never receiving requisite care, waiting for hours, or getting directed to law enforcement agents. Such occurrences left the involved individuals feeling worse than they were before they dialed 911.
In his own words, Psychologist and president of Well Being Trust, Benjamin Miller said, “Unlike other medical emergencies, mental health crises overwhelmingly result in a law enforcement response. If you look at data from the police, about 20% of their total staff time is spent responding and transporting individuals who are experiencing a mental health crisis.”
He also pointed out that, “more than 2 million people with serious mental health illness were booked in jail and nearly a quarter of fatal shootings by police in recent years have involved people with mental illness.”
The benefits of the new 988 hotline are far stretched and its arrival welcomes a host of great possibilities for people who struggle with one mental disease or the other.
So far, statistics have shown that the launch of the 988 hotlines has been very effective. The CEO of the National Council for Mental Wellbeing, Chuck Ingoglia, said that “close to 90% of people who call get what they need from the phone call.”
With comments like this, you are assured of faster and easier access to mental health services when you need them. If you need help or know anyone who needs some kind of support with their mental health challenges, then encourage them to call or send a text to the 988 hotlines. Or, you can contact a standard health center or Community care clinic to access quality mental health treatment.