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The 988 mental health crisis line rolls out in July - here’s what you should know

Jun 18, 2022 06:32AM ● By Editor

Photo: KBJR-TV

By Quinn Gorham from KBJR-TV • June 16, 2022

On July 16, 2022, the brand new mental health crisis 9-8-8 line is set to take effect nationwide.

The new line is supposed to help provide the necessary care in mental health situations without fear of escalation from law enforcement.

St. Louis County Undersheriff Jason Lukovsky said a response from law enforcement isn’t always the most appropriate response.

“A lot of us in law enforcement, we aren’t mental health professionals. We don’t have a psychology degree and nationwide we’ve seen police response, perhaps elevate a situation,” he said.

According to Lukovsky, the new line should be used when there isn’t necessarily a need for immediate medical attention, but instead when there’s a concern for a person’s mental well-being.

That could mean things like depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and even suicidal ideations.

“We would encourage them to call 988 so that they can be put in contact with those mental health professionals who are better suited to deal with potentially the issues or problems,” he said.

 St. Louis County Undersheriff Jason Lukovsky.  Photo: KBJR-TV

The idea is to make help more accessible since a simple 3-digit dial code should make the number for help a lot easier to remember. Lukovsky said people in the area can call the number starting July 16, but it’ll be routed through a local hub at first.

“They triage the information based on the location of the caller, they will then forward to the appropriate mental health response team,” he said. Other crisis lines will stay in service and will not be replaced by the new 988 number.

To see the original report and read related stories, follow this link to the KBJR-TV website.

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