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The concerns looming over the 988 mental health hotline

Dialing for help in a mental health crisis just got shorter. Now, Americans can dial 988 instead of a previous 10-digit number directing them to the national suicide prevention hotline.

The Biden administration is giving local call centers $432 million to beef up support via additional staffing and Spanish-speaking call takers. 

However, some concerns emerged during the service’s rollout. There are questions about how local call centers will continue to fund these efforts long-term after the initial funding runs dry.

With call centers already stretched thin and staff burnt out, how long can these scaled-up centers operate? Questions about police intervention have spurred fears, especially in the queer and Black communities.

We talk about the new hotline and how local call centers are addressing these concerns.

Copyright 2022 WAMU 88.5

Michelle Harven