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Utah to launch 988 suicide prevention hotline in July


Starting on July 16, 2022, Utahns in a mental health crisis can call 988, the new number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

In 2020, Congress had passed a law requiring all states to replace the current 10-digit hotline number with the new 988 system, a shorter 3-digit number.

Dr. Scott Langenecker, a clinical psychologist at the Huntsman Mental Health Institute and a board member of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Utah, says that there is a great benefit to dialing only three numbers to reach out for help. Langenecker says professionals can buy callers time through this shortened number and that they can make it through to an immediate crisis much faster.

Right now, getting through to someone in need is essential because the current hotline is busier than it has ever been. Rachel Lucynski, director of community crisis intervention and support services with the Huntsman Mental Health Institute, says that the Utah Crisis line receives more than 8,600 calls every month with some months getting 30% more calls than the previous year.

Despite concerns about Utah’s capability of providing enough mobile crisis teams, the location of particular callers, and the out-of-state transferring issues, officials affiliated with mental help organizations are hoping that this new 988 number will make it easier for people to receive help and it will hopefully lead to a decrease in suicides.

Jared Gereau is pursuing a Journalism major with an emphasis in Social Media at Utah State University. He is planning on using his experience to pursue a career with USU Athletics sometime after he graduates. In his free time, Jared enjoys watching movies, playing games and creating content for his YouTube channel.