New 988 suicide hotline launches

Published: Jul. 18, 2022 at 6:42 AM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - A new phone number is now available to help you during a mental health emergency.

If you have an emergency – everyone knows to pick up the phone and dial 911. But now if you are having a mental health crisis, all you have to do is pick up the phone and dial 988.

The new phone number just launched over the weekend. Anyone can call or text the three digit number 988 to be connected to a trained counselor who will talk to you about the situation and help you with the next steps on how to stay safe.

While there have always been crisis hotlines, they were long 800 numbers and mental health professionals like Vira Salzburn from the Safety & Resilience Program say it is time to make it an easy number for everyone to remember.

“In the thick of it when you are struggling with thoughts of suicide or mental crisis or intense emotional pain, it is so hard to focus and remember where to find the help so making resources memorable makes them also accessible,” said Salzburn.

Salzburn says when you contact the help line it will go to a local crisis hotline but if that one is busy, it will be transferred to a national help line.

Since it just launched over the weekend, there will be some time to make it as efficient as possible but this is a huge step to getting people the help they need right away.

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