People experiencing a mental health crisis can now call or text 988 for help

Aug 02, 2022
| Posted in
A person leans on the shoulder of another, who has their arm wrapped around their shoulder in a supportive manner. Text reads "There is hope. If you or someone you know needs suipport, call or text 988, or chat"

Launched nationwide July 16 by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the lifeline offers support to anyone experiencing thoughts of suicide, mental health or substance use crisis, or any other kind of emotional distress. People can also dial or text 988 if they are worried about a loved one who may need crisis support.

A network of over 200 local call centers, 988 offers free and confidential emotional support from mental health counselors 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If local centers are busy, callers are redirected to a national backup center.

With support and guidance from the Health Forward Foundation and the REACH Healthcare Foundation, MARC began facilitating discussions in January 2022 with six community health centers that serve Cass, Clay, Jackson, Platte and Ray counties in Missouri. The discussions also involved the Missouri Department of Mental Health and local leaders representing law enforcement, emergency services, medical professionals, educators and people with lived experiences.

The community mental health centers participating in the process included:

  • Compass Health Network
  • Comprehensive Mental Health Services (CMHS)
  • ReDiscover
  • Swope Health Services
  • Tri-County Mental Health Services
  • University Health Center Behavioral Health

CommCARE, a behavioral health management organization also involved in the discussions, serves as the lifeline operator for five of the six community mental health centers.

To learn more about strategies identified to implement 988 across the region, view the report “988 Crisis & Suicide Lifeline - Strengthening our region’s crisis response system.”