With a new hotline, the efficiency of attending to mental health crisis have increased.
Mental health in the United States is the “second pandemic” after COVID-19. With 988, a new national hotline set to roll out next month, access to mental health tools are better than ever.
Since COVID-19, mental health has been a struggle for more and more people worldwide. In 2020, there was one death by suicide every 11 minutes. In addition, over 100,000 people have passed due to drug overdose from April 2020 to 2021.
With such increased numbers, there is an increased volume of calls to call centers, such as the suicide prevention hotline. The job of these hotlines is to have navigators – people who direct the callers – direct those that are in need of therapy services. However, the recent influx of callers has caused an overload on these hotlines. With this new hotline, that is set to change and prove more efficient management.
The current short-term goal for 988 is to have a more strengthened lifeline response to crisis calls, texts, and chats. However, 988 plans to stay – and its long terms goal is to establish a more efficient crisis care system available for people to use anywhere in the country.
Because 988 is a new hotline – it is expected to now have many contacts. For the first year – in Indiana alone – the current estimate is 127,000 people. By the fifth year – it is expected to increase to about 265,000 people – still a low approximation. Getting the word out about 988 means public awareness comparable to 911. It could give people access to resources that they didn’t even know about, and people can help themselves with a new hotline more efficiently.
For more information, view the MHA National 988 page here.