988 is the new hotline for mental health emergencies
GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - The national hotline for mental health emergencies is changing its number Saturday.
It is a transition that is expected to bring millions more calls, chats, and texts into a system that saves lives.
The number to call is 988, which is a lot shorter than the current 10-digit number. Experts hope the change will make it easier for people to remember in situations when they need it.
The three-digit number will get people in contact with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and connect them with mental health professionals trained to respond to emergencies.
According to Nadine Gordon, REAL Crisis Prevention assistant director, the longer number will still be used.
“That number is 1-800-273-TALK and it is still active and will remain active,” Gordon says.
Gordon says for someone in an immediate mental health crisis, the ability to pick up the phone and dial three digits instead of double digits is a big deal.
The hotline will provide 24/7 free and confidential emotional support around the country to those in a mental health crisis.
Gordon says less than 5% of callers thinking about suicide need emergency services involved.
“I think a lot of people who have never utilized the service are scared to reach out because they’re scared someone is going to come to their house and affect their livelihood,” Gordon says. “We’re here to tell you that we’re here to do no harm. We want to help everybody.”
Gordon says the people who pick up the calls are trained professionals.
Anyone in an immediate crisis can also text HOME to 741741.
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