The newly launched national 988 mental health hotline is receiving a high volume of calls, texts and chat messages, AP reports. The helpline received 154,585 more calls, texts and chat messages in November 2022 compared with the old national lifeline in November 2021.
In the six months since 988 launched, the helpline has received over 2 million calls, texts and chat messages. The helpline consists of more than 200 call centers around the country, which respond to people considering suicide or experiencing a mental health emergency. Last year, the number of centers answering calls in Spanish increased from three to seven. In September, a pilot line dedicated to LGBTQ youth opened.
There are plans to add Spanish language chat and text options later this year, and to expand services for the LGBTQ line to a 24/7 operation.
While states are expected to receive more money for 988 from the $1.7 trillion end-of-year spending package, some states have not yet figured out how to permanently fund the helpline. The National Alliance on Mental Health Illness says that so far, fewer than 20 states have passed legislation to permanently fund their helpline.