‘988’ Suicide & Crisis Line Launches In WA Saturday

WASHINGTON — Washington will join states across the nation Saturday in activating the new 988 three-digit dialing code for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. States have been preparing for the change since it was approved in 2020, and last year Gov. Jay Inslee signed House Bill 1477, expanding resources for Washington’s crisis care call centers.

“Thanks to the many partner organizations and agencies who have made this resource possible,” Inslee said Friday. “In the same way 911 transformed our ability to respond to emergency safety or health situations, 988 will transform our ability to connect people to help in behavioral and mental health crisis situations.”

Dialing 988 will allow anyone experiencing suicidal ideation or mental health crisis to more easily get help by phone or text 24/7, and also allows loved ones to find help for those who may need support. Calls are also available in Spanish, and interpretation is extended to more than 250 languages.

“Providing an easy-to-remember, three-digit number is an important step to accessing potentially life-saving support,” Dr. Umair Shah, state Secretary of Health. “We are dedicated to enhancing and expanding behavioral health crisis response and suicide prevention services for all Washingtonians.”

Washington approved funds for its three NSPL crisis centers to hire more staffers to handle the anticipated increase in demand, and facilities across the nation trained more than 130 people to aid in the rollout, and are looking to hire nearly two dozen more.

Source: Bellevue Patch