The efforts of mental health advocates to establish a national Suicide and Crisis Hotline have paid off. Since July 2022, a federally mandated 988 hotline connects a person struggling with a mental health challenge to a trained crisis counselor. Callers can access help 24/7 by phone or an Internet device simply by calling 988, or texting 988, or chatting online at 988lifeline.org.
Unlike 911 dispatchers, who send in-person help immediately, 988 counselors focus on providing emotional assistance to callers who are experiencing a mental crisis, contemplating self-harm or suicide, or battling substance abuse. According to the Oregon Health Authority, 988 crisis workers in Oregon are providing resolution to 97 percent of incoming calls. For those issues that may require additional time, the crisis counselors can arrange for in-person care.
Additionally, 988 counselors call for emergency services when there is a clear risk to the caller or others, and when it is the only way to ensure safety. For more details, click on this link: https://oregon.gov/oha/hsd/amh/pages/988.aspx FCC members can pick up 988 refrigerator magnets on the hallway table near the church office, courtesy of FCC’s Mental Health Awareness Work Group.