For nearly 50 years, 911 has been the number to call in cases of medical or police emergency, nationwide. Today, 988 joins it as an emergency number for those contemplating suicide.
Those 988 calls will be answered on the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and callers routed to local agencies that can help.
The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline features a network of more than 200 state and local call centers that are available 24/7.
Macomb County Community Mental Health is one of them.
“So our crisis will be taking calls from all over the country plus, they’ll be taking calls from our local,” said Crystal Bouissi. “All these lines have been merged into one. Nobody should ever have to experience a long wait anywhere.”
Mental-health advocates hope 988 will reduce calls to 911 about these crises, as police are not always trained to deal with them, nor always available to do so.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, under its old, 10-digit number, received 3.6 million calls last year and expects that to double under the 988 system, WDIV says.