by: Dr. Mary Gillis, D.Ed.
Posted: / Updated:
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline will soon be shortened from 10 numbers to just three: 988.
Health experts are calling the new outreach number the equivalent to 911, but for mental health.
The nationwide initiative for 988 was meant to connect professionals with people suffering from emotional stress, thoughts of suicide, and substance abuse crises. People can also call in if they fear a loved one needs help.
News 8 spoke with Kimble Richardson, a licensed mental health counselor at Community Health Network, who shares what he hopes comes out of 988.
“We’re playing some catch-up on paying attention to mental health issues and substance abuse issues,” he said. “Mental health is physical health. Physical health is mental health. And I’ll throw another component in there, which I think is spiritual health. All those things make up a whole person. It makes the world take notice that we think and believe that mental health is important and we’re doing something about it.”
The phone number 988 is expected to go live on July 16. However, it will continue to develop over the next seven to 10 years. The plan is for it to include resources such as an increased number of mobile crisis teams, in-person services, and facilities where people can go to for help.