New National Suicide Prevention hotline number

The National Suicide Prevention hotline number will be designated as “988” starting July 16, 2022. The goal of the system is to make it easier to reach services and talk to a counselor during a mental health crisis.

““Having 988 created has been able to prove that mental health crises are just as important as physical ones,” sophomore Minal Chunduru said. “Mental health has been stigmatized throughout society and creating a nationalized number decriminalizes those who need help. Having 988 and 911 on an even playing field is a step of progress necessary for both safety and acceptance.”

The existing phone number, 1-800-273-8255, will remain available to people in need even after 988 is implemented nationally.

LA to provide mental health workers to emergency calls

Los Angeles County announced that it will begin implementing a program to provide mental health workers for 911 calls on March 4. This Therapeutic Transportation program would enable trained healthcare personnel to respond to emergent, nonviolent calls and redirect situations to proper mental health services.

“We know that mental health is best treated by mental health experts,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. “Oftentimes, seeing a badge can trigger people’s trauma even more.”

People experiencing a mental health crisis are more likely to be confronted by law enforcement than receive the necessary treatment. The new pilot program will help ease this problem considering Los Angeles County Jail holds more people with serious mental health conditions than any dedicated treatment facility in the country.