The Mental Health, Drug and Alcohol Services Board of Logan and Champaign Counties officials report that this month, Ohio joined communities around the nation in beginning to utilize the 988-dialing code to connect individuals to the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline system.
988 will be the new three-digit number to call, text or chat. Building on the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline system, it will provide 24/7, free and confidential support to Ohioans in a behavioral health crisis.
“Every county in Ohio will join the nation in moving to 988, as the one way to reach a Crisis Lifeline for support and help no matter where you are calling from,” said Tammy Nicholl, executive director of the Mental Health, Drug and Alcohol Services Board of Logan and Champaign Counties.
“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.
Nicholl noted that 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 (800) 224-0422, and the Ohio text 4Hope to 741741, will remain active,” she said.
“Calls and texts will continue to be received throughout the 988 transition and beyond. Remember, HELP and HOPE are just a phone call away.”
MHDAS officials said that there is a tremendous for these resources, as 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, more than 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,” officials said.
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.
988 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.
Moving to the easy-to-remember, three-digit number will provide greater access to life-saving services. 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.
For more information on local resources and 988, visit www.mhdas.org.