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Human Services announces on July 16 the launch of 988 – a new easy-to-remember emergency and suicide line number

Human Services announces July 16e Launch of 988 – New easy-to-remember suicide and crisis line number

The new number will connect to the National Lifeline for Suicide Prevention; Will be available 24/7/365 for calls, texts and chat

June 11, 2022

(TENTON)Social Services Commissioner Sarah Adelman announced today that New Jersey residents will be able to use the new three-digit number 988 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline starting July 16. Number 988 will be available for anyone with suicidal thoughts or a mental health issue. or addiction crisis.

988 has been designated as the new three-digit dialing code for the existing National Lifeline for Suicide Prevention in 2020 by the Federal Communications Commission. To support 988, the budget signed by Governor Murphy includes nearly $29 million for hotline infrastructure and services that some callers can be connected to after calling. The goal of 988 is to improve access to crisis services in a way that meets the nation’s growing needs for suicide and mental health-related crisis care.

“We are excited about the rollout of 988 in New Jersey and across the country. Its launch marks an important step in rapid access to mental health services and we believe 988 can help save lives,” said Commissioner Adelman. “988 is more than just an easy-to-remember number. It will be a direct link to accessible and compassionate support and resources, available 24/7, for anyone experiencing psychiatric or emotional distress or for those concerned for a loved one. Anyone going through a mental health crisis will only need to remember these three numbers to contact trained counselors who can help.

988 will be available to call, text or chat on July 16 for those experiencing a mental health or suicidal crisis, or those looking to help a loved one through a crisis. The existing Lifeline number, 1-800-273-8255, will also continue to be available.

988 will facilitate access to the Lifeline Network – a nationwide network of more than 200 independent local crisis centers equipped to help people in mental health-related distress or in a suicidal crisis. Some callers may be connected to services or other resource lines depending on their needs.

988, like Lifeline’s current number, will provide live crisis center call services in English and Spanish and will use Language Line Solutions to provide translation services in over 250 additional languages. At the moment, text and chat features are only available in English. The Lifeline provides free, confidential support to people in suicidal crisis or mental health-related distress via call, text, or chat 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, across the United States.

988 is separate from 911, which focuses on dispatching emergency medical, fire and police services.

“The transition to 988 will help expand access to essential mental health services and ensure that we connect those in distress with the most appropriate assistance,” said Valerie Mielke, Assistant Commissioner of the Division of Mental Health Services. mental health and addictions department. “We know Lifeline makes a difference, and with a number that’s easier to call, text or chat with, we hope more people in need of help for themselves or loved ones will seek help.”

Numerous studies have shown that most Lifeline callers are significantly more likely to feel less depressed, less suicidal, less overwhelmed, and more optimistic after speaking with a Lifeline crisis counselor.

For people aged 10 to 34, suicide is the leading cause of death. In 2020 alone, the United States recorded one suicide death approximately every 11 minutes. Additionally, from April 2020 to 2021, more than 100,000 people died from drug overdoses. In New Jersey, 778 lives have been lost to suicide and 239,000 adults have had suicidal thoughts in the past year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). According to NAMI, more than one million adults in New Jersey have a mental health problem, while 72,000 New Jerseyans between the ages of 12 and 17 suffer from depression. According to NAMI, 61.4 percent of New Jersey residents ages 12 to 17 who suffer from depression have not received any care in the past year.

“These statistics represent real people in need of help. Just as 911 is widely known, we hope 988 will become ubiquitous as the number to call when someone is experiencing severe emotional or mental distress,” Adelman added.

For more information on 988, visit here

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