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New 988 mental health crisis line sees increase in calls since launch

To simplify calling for help, last year Congress passed – and the president has now signed - a bill to set aside what will be a new three-digit suicide prevention hotline – 988. It is supposed to launch in July of next year.
Posted at 4:02 PM, Oct 31, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-31 18:02:00-04

IDAHO — 988 is the new universal number to call when you are having a mental health crisis or emergency.

In just the last few months, calls have been increasing across the state and across the country.

The Idaho Crisis and Suicide Hotline has seen a 39 percent increase in call volume since the launch of 988 earlier this year and compared to the same time frame in 2021 according to the Department of Health and Welfare.

"This is a wonderful success! Even so, we still have work to do," DHW Director Dave Jeppesen said. "As we continue to improve the crisis care continuum in Idaho, we are pleased that Idahoans now have an easy-to-remember number to call when they or a loved one is in need, and they are using it."

The increase in calls isn't just in Idaho.

Nationally, reports show call volumes have increased by 50% and texts answered have increased by 1,000% according to the department of health and welfare.

The new phone number and system launched this summer and the goal was to have an easier-to-remember number available.

“With that unified message, that will really get through to people and make it really easy to understand and definitely easy to remember that no matter what a person is going through, what type of crisis they really are able to call 988 24/7," Idaho Crisis Suicide Hotline Director Lee Flinn said.

If you or someone you know is having a mental health crisis you can call or text 988 for help.