The past few years have shed light on the global mental health crisis. In the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the global prevalence of anxiety and depression increased by a massive 25 percent, according to a report from the World Health Organization.
The information we now know about the impact of COVID-19 was a wake-up call for countries to pay more attention to mental health. One of the first steps that the U.S. federal government took was to help local governments build out call centers. These centers provide emergency counseling to individuals going through a mental health crisis. And this is how the 988 hotline came to be.
What is the New 988 Mental Health Hotline?
The 988 crisis hotline is modeled after 911. It’s a quick and memorable number that puts people in touch with a trained mental health professional. 988 went live on July 16, 2022 and replaces Lifeline’s clunky number – 800-273-8255.
People who call into 988 will never get a busy signal, or be put on hold. They will be able to reach a trained mental health counselor who deals with mental health crises. Ideally, the counselor will be located near the caller so that they can put them in touch with local resources like residential facilities, should they need them.
New Jersey is one of the states that poured millions into the 988 hotline, ensuring that residents are connected to mental health therapy in the state. In fact, a law recently passed that’s going to put $13 million to call centers in NJ in this fiscal year and another $16 million for mobile crisis response teams.
What Happens When You Call Into the 988 Hotline?
When you call into 988, you’re going to get the same services as if you called the 1-800-SUICIDE prevention hotline number. One automated prompt asks if you would like services in Spanish and another prompt asks if you are a veteran.
If you answer ‘yes’ to either question, the appropriate call center will take your call. As long as the wait isn’t long, you’ll connect to a counselor in your state. If the wait is long, the first available counselor will answer. This ensures that no caller is sitting and waiting for help.
The primary goal of the new 988 hotline is to make it easier for people to access help. The Biden administration administered $400 million to strengthen call centers and other mental health services. National estimates predict that call volume will increase between 1 million and 12 million in the first year.
Mental Health Therapy in New Jersey is Never Far Away
CTRLCare Behavioral Health is happy to see improvements in mental health services. Our treatment center works with individuals who struggle with various mental health disorders, such as anxiety, depression or eating disorders.
We know that help exists on many levels, and we look forward to helping more people overcome their struggles. To learn more about how we can assist you in your journey to recovery, contact us for mental health therapy in Princeton NJ.