Here’s When Massachusetts Residents Should Call ‘988’ Instead Of ‘911’
On Thursday morning, "Slater and Marjo In The Morning" had Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer on-air to discuss a litany of things and one of them was the subject of co-responders to help in certain situations when people need the police.
A co-responder team model is a collaborative approach to behavioral crisis response that seeks to reduce harm and facilitate alternatives to arrest by providing police-mental health professional co-response to calls for service (CFS) involving persons in crisis. -theiacp.org
Emanating from that conversation was the subject of the Massachusetts 911 system. When residents are in need of police, fire, or EMS, they call 911, it's been that way since the early '90s.
Currently, if you are having thoughts of suicide or other related mental health issues, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is (1-800-273-8255).
The American rapper Logic actually had a hit song a few years back with the 1-800 number as the title really bringing attention to the service. Well, that service is about to get a little easier to remember.
WHAT IS '988'?
Dialing the existing 1-800 number will absolutely still work; however, Massachusetts residents will soon be able to dial 988 instead.
Moving to 988 does not mean the current 800 number (1-800-273-8255) for Lifeline goes away. Dialing either number will route callers to the same services, no matter which number they use. -mass.gov
This will make it easier for Americans in crisis or who are worried about a friend or loved one to access the help they need, while decreasing the stigma surrounding suicide and mental health issues. Much like the use of 911 for emergency response, calling 988 will deliver a full range of crisis care services, essential to meeting behavioral health crisis needs across the nation. -mass.gov
WHEN DOES THE 988 SYSTEM GO LIVE IN MASSACHUSETTS?
Anyone can can call/use '988' and it will go live on July 16, 2022.
988 will go live on July 16, 2022. Individuals who need help today should call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached by calling 1-800-273- 8255 (1-800-273-TALK) and through online chat, suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat.) -mass.gov
Suicide is the 12th leading cause of death in the U.S., and in 2020, 45,979 people died by suicide, according to afsp.org.