New 988 Mental Health Crisis Hotline Goes Live In July — But Is There Enough Money For It?
LAist / March 18, 2022
A group of U.S. lawmakers is asking Congress to throw more support behind the launch of 988, the new national suicide prevention and mental health crisis lifeline that goes live in July.
When it’s fully operational, 988 will represent the beginning of a national shift from relying on traditional emergency responders — very often police — to respond to mental health crises.
The Los Angeles-based nonprofit Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services is coordinating much of the 988 call center implementation for California. It already runs one of the 13 centers.
“We are anticipating about two to three-fold the volume of calls, chats and texts,” Didi Hirsch CEO Jonathan Goldfinger said.
It’s not clear yet whether that anticipated increased call volume will mean his group needs to triple the amount of volunteers and staff, he said.
“The thing that keeps me [up] at night the most [is] the sheer number of lives who need us and that we’re not necessarily ready yet to serve them, whether through the calls, chats and texts or in-person,” Goldfinger said.
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