A new three-digit number will go live from July 16 for those with suicidal thoughts or a mental health crisis.
The number 988 was designed to be the equivalent of “911” but for mental health emergencies. Now, the Mississippi Department of Mental Health (DMH) refers to the new issue as the Suicide and Behavioral Health Crisis Line.
Although 988 is a national number, any call placed on the line is routed to the emergency center closest to the caller’s location. Therefore, a call from a Mississippian will be directed to a Mississippi rescue center.
Suicide prevention may be the focal point around the new figure, but the MDMH stresses that the lifeline is inclusive for anyone facing a mental health crisis.
“It was promoted as a lifeline for suicide prevention, but going forward it will be promoted as a hotline for suicide prevention and behavioral health,” the DMH Chief of Staff said. , Katie Storr, in an interview on Good Things with Rebecca Turner. “So families can call when they’re worried about a loved one. Maybe someone has a history of mental illness and is seeing behavioral changes, and that person is in crisis at that time and needs help. They can call 988.
Additionally, those who call the lifeline will be referred to a qualified counselor who has met the standards set by the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.
The DMH is also working to add chat functionality for those who prefer to communicate via text messaging.