Posted on July 20, 2022
| 8:55 p.m.
California residents can now call a new crisis line for help with a mental health crisis. Since July 16, people in mental health crisis can call “988” for help. People can call or text “988” or chat 988lifeline.org for themselves or if they are worried about a loved one who may need support in a crisis.
For people in mental health crisis, 988 is a new federal number that is now used throughout California as an alternative to calling 911. The 988 dialing code works through what was once known as National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. It is a network of over 200 locally run and funded crisis centers across the country.
The goal is to make it easier for people in and around California to connect to the state’s network of 13 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline call centers.
California’s National Suicide Prevention Lifeline said call centers saw a 67% increase in calls between 2016 and 2020. Despite the increase, they also report being able to answer 90% of calls, data shows. from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
Too many people are experiencing a suicidal crisis or mental health-related distress without the support and care they need, and sadly, the pandemic has only made a poor mental health and well-being situation worse. to be in America.
Urgent realities require the transformation of emergency response services across the country. Some statistics:
In 2020 alone, the United States recorded one suicide death approximately every 11 minutes.
For people aged 10 to 34, suicide is the leading cause of death.
From April 2020 to 2021, more than 100,000 people have died from drug overdoses.
The 988 lifeline helps thousands of people in difficulty every day to overcome a suicidal crisis or mental health-related distress.
Locally, the 24/7 Behavioral Wellness Hotline, 888-868-1649, is available for direct access to local resources and immediate crisis response. Forwards from 988 can also go through the access line. Around the state, counties are monitoring pending legislation that could help fund increased demand for resources.
To learn more about the Santa Barbara Behavioral Wellness Department, visit https://www.countyofsb.org/274/Behavioral-Wellness. For help accessing behavioral wellness services, call the toll-free 24/7 Service Access and Crisis Response Line at 888-868-1649.