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988 Hotline Increases Access to Mental Health Care

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In the fight to increase access to mental health care, the National Suicide Hotline has created the 9-8-8 hotline, establishing an easy-to-use, available 24/7/365 days a year connection to mental health services. Much like you call 9-1-1 in an emergency, people in a mental health crisis can call 9-8-8 - three simple numbers to dial for a connection to mental health professionals.

Dawn Peel, Director of the Office of Crisis Coordination for the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, explains how the hotline works.

“It is a three-digit number that is going to supplement the national Suicide Prevention Lifeline. For a number of years, there's been a 1-800 number for that in addition to the Georgia Crisis & Access Line. So after the 16, 9-8-8 will be an option for people to use, but the Georgia Crisis & Access Line will still be an option at that 1-800 number. And the 1-800 number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline will also still be available,” Peel says.

Peel says that the 9-8-8 hotline also has the potential to take some pressure off of overburdened 9-1-1 operators across the state. According to the DBHDD website, 8% of 9-1-1 calls are related to a mental health crisis.

For more information on 9-8-8, go to 988lifeline.org.