A suicide and crisis lifeline that can be reached nationwide by dialing 988, a resource for anyone experiencing a mental health or substance abuse emergency. It’s been renewed in the last few years…so what should you expect when you call?
Debbie Helm runs Samaritans of Merrimack Valley and works on some of these phones.
“People should expect to hear warm, caring voices. We try to put them at ease,” she explained.
If you live in Massachusetts, there is another option, new this year: Behavioral Health Helpline – 833-773-2445.
It works similarly to 988, but the clinician there will direct you to one of the newly formed community behavioral health centers.
They are a place where those in need can go to get treatment for mental health and substance abuse issues.We also offer a 24/7 mobile crisis team. Services are provided without regard to insurance or ability to pay.
Psychiatrist Kevin Simon, Ph.D., Boston’s first chief behavioral health officer, says anyone can call.
“The Behavioral Health Line can actually call the CBHC to alert them that someone might be on their way. It’s been done and it’s planned.”
According to last year’s CDC data, one in five US teens has experienced an episode of major depression at some point.
In either number, the clinician on the other side will evaluate what you say, but you are not expected to say more than you would like.
“You don’t have to share personal information if you don’t want to share it,” Helm said.
Even making a phone call is an important step, says Simon.
“So there is a little way to acknowledge the fact that you dialed 988. It shows that you want to be heard and seen. It’s a small way you can do things because you’re affirming and validating them,” he said.
If you or someone you know needs help, please contact Suicide and Crisis Lifeline call 988call Contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or the Crisis Text Line (text anytime from Home to 741741)..