Finding Hope


9-8-8 reaches one year mark; how is the new crisis hotline number impacting Idaho?

Posted at 5:11 PM, Jul 10, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-10 19:29:17-04

IDAHO — On July 16, 2022, the national crisis and suicide hotline changed its number to 9-8-8.

The purpose was to make the number more recognizable and easier to remember for anyone struggling with a mental health crisis. Since the shift over 3.5 million calls have been made to the national hotline.

"More people are talking about mental health and really focusing on the importance and 988 is a big part of that as well it really is raising awareness about mental health, about suicide prevention," said Lee Flinn, director of the Idaho Crisis and Suicide Hotline.

In May 2023, over 400,000 total Lifeline Routed Network Contacts were made through call, text, and chat. That excludes the 66,529 veterans crisis line calls also made.

The change has resulted in a higher call rate across the country and here in Idaho.

"What we've noticed is that our call volume has gone up and right now we are taking about a 10% higher volume of calls and that is only expected to go up. You know, not everyone has heard of 988 and that's why it's so important to help get the word out," said Flinn.

The number isn't just for people in crisis but is also available for anyone who knows someone in a time of crisis or in need of professional help.

"You know if they're concerned about a child, a sibling, a coworker, anybody but they are not sure what to do, they can reach out and we are here to support them as well," Flinn.

The national routing service is available to call twenty-four hours a day with assistance at the ready.