Ohio adds 988 dialing code to prevent suicides


The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is coming to Ohio.

The Mental Health Drug and Alcohol Services (MHDAS) Board of Logan and Champaign Counties noted:

· in 2020, the U.S. had one death by suicide every 11 minutes.

· For people ages 10-34, suicide is a leading cause of death.

· From April 2020 to April 2021, over 100,000 people died from drug overdoses.

Behind each of these data points, there are people, families, and communities who have been impacted. Yet, in the face of these urgent realities, there is hope.

On July 16, 2022, Ohio will join the rest of the United States beginning to use the 988-dialing code. 988 will be the new three-digit number call (multiple languages), text, or chat (English only) that connects people to the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. 988 builds on the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline system and will provide 24/7, free and confidential support to Ohioans in a behavioral health crisis. It is a direct connection to compassionate, accessible care and support for anyone experiencing mental health-related distress – whether that is thoughts of suicide, mental health or addiction concerns, or any other kind of emotional distress

Research shows that most calls to Lifeline can be managed and resolved through a consultation on the phone; however, if a person needs an emergency, in-person response, 988 counselors are trained to connect the person in crisis with a mobile response team, which may be a behavioral health team or first responder team (or a combination of both) who will meet the person at their place of crisis.

Moving to the easy-to-remember, 3-digit number will provide greater access to life-saving services, and the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) has been planning for this transition over the last 18 months to ensure Ohio is ready for 988.

Ohio’s 988 implementation plan is part of the state’s larger commitment to providing quality, person-centered crisis supports in communities across the state.

Tammy Nicholl, Executive Director of the Mental Health, Drug and Alcohol Services Board of Logan and Champaign Counties, shares “Every county in Ohio will join the nation in moving to 988 on July 16, 2022, as the one way to reach a Crisis Lifeline for support and HELP no matter where you are calling from. We at the MHDAS Board of Logan and Champaign Counties want to make sure that no one is left behind in getting access to this new resource. We are very excited to share that our very own local community behavioral health provider, TCN Behavioral Health, will be one of the 15 or more organizations in Ohio that are trained and ready to respond to the calls. As we transition to 988, our local crisis hotline number 1-800-224-0422, and the Ohio text 4Hope to 741741, will remain active. Calls and texts will continue to be received throughout the 988 transition and beyond. Remember, HELP and HOPE are just a phone call away!”

For more information on local resources and 988, please visit www.mhdas.org.



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