Soon our Freeman Health Sustem’s Ozark Center will receive a “988 state planning grant. These funds will assist in preparation for the 988 dialing code to the National Prevention Suicide Prevention
##Freeman Health System Press Release##
“Ozark Center is dedicated to responding to the behavioral health needs of our four-state region,” Fitzgerald said. “Once implemented, the new 988 number will ensure a behavioral health safety net by providing emotional support for people in distress, reducing suicides and mental health crises, and providing a pathway to wellbeing for all.”
Currently, there are 180 crisis centers linked to the Lifeline toll-free number (800.273.TALK), that answer the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. Callers can dial this number anytime from anywhere in the United States. They will be routed to the nearest network center, where helpers are trained to provide emotional support assessment, crisis intervention, and/or linkages to necessary community resources.
Now former President Donald Trump signed the law designating 988 as the universal number for the nationwide hotline on October 17, 2020. The bill authorized states to levy a fee on wireless services that would be used for 988 expenses, ensuring that crisis centers will be able to support increased volume. The Federal Communication Commission estimated that the implementation costs would be $570 million in year one and $175 million in year two.
“Access to mental health and crisis support has never been more critical for Americans,” said Kimberly Williams, President, and CEO of Vibrant Emotional Health. “Vibrant is committed to providing the states and territories with some of the resources they’ll need to plan for the implementation of 988 and to support their local crisis centers. By working together, we can increase access to care, reduce the stigma around behavioral health and ultimately, save lives.”
“As a crisis center affiliated with Lifeline, Ozark Center staff receive calls from individuals in our service area who seek anonymity by calling the national talk line,” Fitzgerald said. “Our staff also participate in Lifeline trainings and webinars, track the numbers of calls received or rerouted, and implement a Lifeline approved suicide risk assessment.”