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New help is available for people dealing with mental health crisis

9-8-8 is the new number to call/text/chat when people are trying to cope with suicidal thoughts or mental health issues.
Credit: SAMHSA
988: A simpler way to get help when it's needed most.

MINNEAPOLIS — 9-8-8. That’s the new, simple-to-remember number that people can call or text when they find themselves feeling suicidal or in the midst of a mental health crisis.

By dialing three numbers, 9-8-8, people who need support dealing with mental health issues, suicidal thoughts, or substance abuse problems will get immediate help. 9-8-8 is the new nationwide lifeline that is replacing the current 10-digit Suicide Crisis Lifeline (800-273-TALK.)

The new 9-8-8 Lifeline launched in mid-July. When people call or text the number, they will be connected with trained counselors --- usually located in the same area code as the originating call. Calls are answered 24/7.

Help when it’s needed most

Last year in Minnesota, 33,887 calls from across the state were made to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. That’s according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services. The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) says the shorter dialing code is an important step in reducing suicide rates. It will also be an improvement for people facing mental health crisis. 

MDH has allocated $1.8M to implement the new service. 9-8-8 is a nationwide network of more than 200 call centers. Minnesota has four Lifeline centers in operation. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline has several backup centers that can be tapped if current call centers are at capacity.

Resources used in this article

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration 

Minnesota Department of Health 

Know Your Numbers

This information is provided by Health Fair 11 as part of its Know Your Numbers Campaign.  Health Fair 11 is a non-profit organization that operates with financial support from sponsorships and grants.  KARE 11 TV is its media partner.

Health Fair 11 is currently looking for new sponsors. Contact us at healthfair@kare11.com for details. Learn more about our past projects at www.HealthFair11.org.

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