Call 988 For NEW National Mental Health Hotline

As a response to people of color experiencing mental health and substance abuse issues calling the traditional 911 services for assistance many times ending up in death due to interactions that are not understood by many front-line responders, legislators have allocated funds for an alternative resource. People experiencing a mental health crisis have a new way to reach out for help in the United States starting Saturday, July 16, 2022, they can simply call or text the numbers 9-8-8.  

Modeled after 911, the new three-digit 988 is designed to be a memorable and quick number that connects people who are suicidal or in any other mental health crisis (substance abuse, depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, etc.) to a trained mental health professional. 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. 
 
The goal of the effort behind 988 is to ultimately reduce these kinds of confrontations with law enforcement and connect people in crisis to help right away. It’s part of a longer-term effort to ramp up mental emergency response teams around the country. 988 will connect people to the existing network of more than 200 local crisis call centers around the country. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s 10-digit number — 1-800-273-8255 — will remain active, but calls will be routed to 988.

People who call or text the number will be connected to a trained counselor at a crisis center closest to them. If a local crisis center is too busy to respond right away, the call gets routed to one of 16 backup centers around the country. In preparation for the launch of 988, a growing number of states have started to build up their capacity to offer on-the-ground urgent mental health care to people who call in a crisis.

Many of the folks we have provided services to through the PPMCC Congregational Care Team need these valuable resources. Please consider taking action from reading this as Colorado is working to address issues of access to mental health service provision and funding to expand state and local resources under the request of Governor Polis. I urge you to share this information with your family, friends, and fellow congregation members who may need help addressing their mental health. I urge you to write the Governor and state legislators to fund these efforts state-wide.

Julia Marie Wedemeyer, M.A. (She, Her, Hers)
Pikes Peak Metropolitan Community Church
Ministry Lead for the Congregational Care Team