Remember these 3-digits during a crisis, trained counselors want to help

Suicide & Crisis Lifeline gets a new number
Remember these 3-digits during a crisis, trained counselors want to help
Published: Jul. 14, 2022 at 10:40 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 15, 2022 at 12:31 AM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Three simple numbers -- 988 -- will soon connect people here in Michigan, and all over the country, with the emotional support they desperately need. Starting Saturday, July 16th, dialing 988 will connect people to the new Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.

Background: New national mental health hotline goes live

There’s been conversation around providing more services offered by the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for some time now. When the new 3-digit number is ready-for-use this weekend, callers will have instant access to the help they need -- at any hour of the day. One crisis counselor said that’s the kind of support people need.

“Provide people quicker access to emotional support and prevent them from going through channels that ae not equipped to handle their emotional issue,” said Curlada Eure-Harris, a Licensed Professional Counselor at Lansing Community College.

She said simply put, 988 will help counselors like her, help others.

“So we won’t have to have that limitation for them. They’ll have expanded services and we can make them aware of that expanded service and ease their minds during the day,” said Eure-Harris.

So, what can people expect when calling or texting 988 when it launches.

“They check to see where you are. They check to see what resources you need and are available to you. So, you’re going to have more staff available to assist. It will get people to us more effectively and more efficiently,” said Eure-Harris.

Dr. Debra Pinals, Medical Director for Behavioral Health and Forensic Programs at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, said it doesn’t matter what you’re dealing with -- just dial the number if you’re in need.

“So if somebody feels overwhelmed and feels like it would be helpful to call then they should call the number. If they feel like they’re having suicidal thoughts, they should call,” Pinals said. “So, we don’t want to pre-define who should call and who shouldn’t call.”

Pinals said the 988 resource won’t send a trained counselor out to meet up with you during a crisis -- but what they’ll do is listen, help with coping strategies and provide referrals based on your need.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the 988 dialing code will not replace the existing suicide hotline number. Beginning this weekend, both numbers will get you access to the same expanded network of services.

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