Beginning July 16, a new three-digit phone number – 988 – will be available 24/7 for people to call when they or someone else is having a behavioral health crisis or emergency. Short and easy to remember, like 911, the number replaces the existing National Suicide Hotline number, 800.273.TALK.
When someone calls 988, they will be able to reach a compassionate, highly trained counselor who can help address their issue in the least intrusive way possible. The counselor is part of a call center that is linked to a network of service, so the caller can be connected with the right kind of help, from the right type of helper.
The new 988 crisis response system will ensure that someone experiencing a behavioral health crisis receives care in an appropriate setting; reduce the burden on hospital emergency departments and law enforcement; and meet the unique needs of people most impacted by behavioral health crisis, including youth and people who have a difficult time accessing appropriate health care. It is another option for families and/or caregivers of children, youth and young adults who may currently call a pediatrician’s office during a crisis.
A diverse array of stakeholders, crisis centers, telecommunications agencies, behavioral health providers and people with lived experience are involved in the planning to ensure Oregon builds an inclusive crisis response system.
Funding to implement 988 call centers and infrastructure is currently coming from the General Fund. As the system expands, additional funding will be required and sought by legislators.