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New hotline number activated for mental health crises

Mental health in the workplace 100919
Posted at 5:18 PM, Aug 09, 2021

Calling "988" is designed to be just as easy as dialing 911.

As a crisis counselor, Sherri Bazan has experience dealing with people who are struggling.

“It is difficult, but it makes me feel so good when I can walk away and know that I made a difference in somebody’s life, and they decided to stay with us another day,” Sherri Bazan said.

“I’ve experienced when they come to us and they’re seriously considering suicide and we begin with listening to them, talking to them, what’s giving them the extreme concern at the moment,” she added.

Bazan wants people to use 988 similar to how one would use 911.

“AT&T wireless customers can dial 988. Their toll-free number, that remains available 1-800-273-TALK or 8255," said Vonda Long-Dillard, an area manager for AT&T. "It’s important to state that in case you don’t want to dial 988 or are using another technology.”

The FCC says it won't be long until 988 is available everywhere. By July of 2022, everyone who calls 988 will be connected with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

“It's important to talk about these things it's difficult to talk about these things but it's very important to share how you’re feeling and recognize you do need to talk to someone and sometimes that’s all it takes is a conversation in whatever medium that is,” Bazan said.

Until the formal launch of 988 in July 2022, anyone in mental health crisis or emotional distress should continue to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-275-TALK (8255).