Suicide, crisis hotline 988 now features Spanish-language text, chat options

July 13 (UPI) — Ahead of the one-year anniversary of the 988 Suicide Prevention Lifeline, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has added a new Spanish-language text and chat service to the available features.

The 988 Lifeline is supported by HHS via the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and has over 200 state and local call centers.

“We are facing a behavioral health crisis in this country,” said HHS Deputy Secretary Andrea Palm. “With our continued investment in 988, and the addition of Spanish-language text and chat services, we are furthering our commitment to addressing this crisis head on.”

Last month, the Health Department added LGBTQ-specialized features to the service to the Lifeline.

“The 988 Lifeline is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s comprehensive strategy to address the nation’s mental health crisis,” the HHS said in press release Thursday.

“To date, the administration has invested nearly $1 billion into this life-saving initiative,” HHS said.

HHS says Lifeline text contacts increased by 1,135% above the previous 12 months, that answered chats increased by 141% and that call answers increased by 46%.

“Today, we celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Biden-Harris Administration’s launch of 988, America’s three-digit Suicide & Crisis Hotline. 988 is a life-saving program that connects Americans with trained counselors who offer real support in times of crisis,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra.

According to HHS, nearly 1 million of the nearly 5 million contacts to the 988 Lifeline were handled by the Veterans Crisis Line, which is accessible by pressing 1 after dialing 988.

“There is nothing more important to VA than preventing suicide — and that means getting Veterans the support they need, exactly when they need it,” said Veterans’ Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough.

Search engines Yahoo, Google and Bing link to the Suicide Lifeline when people enter searches related to suicide.

If you or someone you know is suicidal, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988.

Authored by Upi via Breitbart July 13th 2023