New 988 suicide prevention hotline launches nationwide on Saturday
On July 16, Utah residents experienced a mental health crisis can call 988, a new nationwide suicide hotline number.
Similar to how easy it is to dial for 911 emergency services, the new 988 number is designed to make it much easier for those seeking mental health services.
Rachel Lucynski, director of community crisis intervention and support services for the Huntsman Mental Health Institute, says that this new hotline is a huge deal and is a historic milestone for both mental health and behavioral health services.
Lucynski adds that this new number won’t change any of the institute’s processes for connecting with someone, it’s just an easier number to remember. She says that national estimates project anywhere between a 200% to 700% increase in call volumes through this new hotline.
According to congressman Chris Stewart, co-sponsor of the 2020 legislation that made this new hotline a reality, suicide is a top ten cause of death nationwide and that the pandemic only made it worse. Stewart is hoping this new number can reverse that trend.