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New phone number aims to help Idahoans struggling with mental health crises

When you call, the goal is to connect you with the resources in your area so you can get the help you need
New phone number aims to help Idahoans struggling with mental health crises
Published: May. 23, 2022 at 5:06 PM MDT
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Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — Almost everyone knows that 911 is the number to call when there is an emergency. Soon, there will be a new three digit number to call for those struggling with their mental health.

“Idaho and the nation is going to implement the National Behavioral Health Crisis Line, 988,” said Michael Sandvig with NAMI Idaho. “It’ll be the one three digit phone number that everyone can use to access behavioral health crisis help.”

The number itself will replace the current 10 digit National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. That number is 1-800-273-8255. When you call this three digit number you will be able to speak to someone trained in behavioral health and someone will also be able to be dispatched to the scene if needed.

“It’s really designed to be a place where they can help coordinate a response, maybe you just need to talk to somebody, maybe you might need to have a law enforcement or medical support dispatched,” said Sandvig. “In some counties, they even have mental health teams that can be dispatched.”

When you call, the goal is to connect you with the resources in your area so you can get the help you need.

The folks on the line that answer the calls will have information on local resources, national resources, and kind of tailor the call to meet the person’s need as far as connecting them with and what they recommend they follow up with,” said Scott Rasmussen with the Division of Behavioral Health.

Rasmussen says the process of implementing this new three digit number has made people across the country more aware of just how many people are struggling with their mental health.

“An increased amount of awareness about issues related to mental health, nationally, that we are able to start working on addressing because of 988 being implemented,” said Rasmussen.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is still in effect and will remain in effect until 988 is enacted on July 16.

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