Central Florida is using the new 988 number. Calls are up by 30 percent since last fall
The Suicide & Crisis Lifeline got a new number in July. It’s shorter and much easier to remember and because of that there’s been more calls here in Central Florida.
Heart of Florida United Way is in charge of answering calls to the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline here in Central Florida.
Engagement Director Haley Helms says since the number changed to 988 in July up until now, she’s seen a 30 percent jump in calls.
Helms says to respond, the nonprofit has been hiring more employees. She says that even with this increase in demand, the lines are well-manned and ready to respond.
“We’ll help assess and collaborate with the caller on a safety plan to help link them to the most appropriate resources that may be needed. And in some cases, there might not be any resources needed. But just that immediate connection can be really valuable to have somebody listen to you, to hear where you're coming from, and to offer that, you know, support and validation in the moment.”
Helms wants people to know the following about the new 988 number:
“That it's available 24/7. It's free, it's confidential support for people who are in distress, whether that's experiencing thoughts of suicide, or you're just in crisis and needing someone to talk to. It can also be because you're concerned for a loved one or a friend.”
Anyone can call 988 or text that number 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and receive help in either Spanish or English.
Dial 911 first if you are experiencing a medical emergency.