988 Mental health line launches Saturday

(ABC 6 News) – A new emergency resource is going live across the country this Saturday, July 16. It’s a suicide and mental health helpline that’s easy to remember, 988, and will replace the current 10-digit number.

Mental health experts say they hope this new, easy to remember, line will help people experiencing an emergency, and increase accessibility to help.

"When we’re able to simplify things for people when they’re struggling they’re more apt to use the resource. If I’m someone who is struggling I don’t want to jump through all kinds of hoops, I don’t necessarily want to dial ten digits," said Zumbro Valley Health Center Community Liaison Josh Jensen.

In 2021 there were over 2.5 million calls that came into the National Suicide Prevention hotline, and with this new number experts expect that number to rise.

Professionals manning the tip line say the wait is an average of 30-90 seconds to talk to a local crisis counselor, and if the wait is any longer than that the calls get forwarded to one of their national crisis counselors to step in and provide help.