Mental Health Update

February 17, 2023
Mental Health Update

A Message from OMH Commissioner Sullivan on the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline Inbox


As you know, the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is the new FCC-designated three-digit number that connects directly to trained counselors who provide support to individuals experiencing a behavioral health crisis.

The Implementation of the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline in New York State has been a great success and has already helped many more New Yorkers in crisis get immediate assistance. This is a testament to the work of the staff at our contact centers, who are not only answering more calls, but answering them more quickly to support New Yorkers in crisis.

For 988 to continue to be effective, New Yorkers should know that this service is available to them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Office of Mental Health (OMH) is currently in the process of updating all educational materials to reflect the change to 988, and we are asking all healthcare providers to do the same.  This includes changing any mention of the previous 10-digit number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL) (1-800-273-TALK) to say 988, or the 988 Lifeline. 988 will also be replacing the NY Project Hope Emotional Support Helpline, so references to the Helpline should be replaced with 988.

NYS OMH is asking all providers to update their resources. The following list provides suggestions on how providers can successfully achieve this task:

  • Change any mention of the previous 10-digit NSPL number to 988.
  • Replace any mention of NY Project Hope Emotional Support Helpline with the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline
  • Change out of office voicemail messages to encourage those in crisis to contact 988 instead of 911 for non-life-threatening emergencies
  • Start talking to the individuals in your program about 988 to make sure they know it’s an option for support.
  • Take advantage of available educational resources about 988 on New York’s 988 webpage.
  • Sign up for New York’s 988 listserv to stay updated on the implementation of 988 in New York State.

 

Here is the recommended language for sharing 988 as a resource on documents or email signatures:

988 is more than just a suicide helpline. It is a direct connection to compassionate care. Anyone can call, chat, or text 988 for support, including anyone who has thoughts of suicide, is in emotional distress, is struggling with substance use, or is experiencing a behavioral health crisis. Additional information can be found in OMH’s 988 Brochure and Frequently Asked Questions infographics.

Should you have any further questions about the implementation off 988 in New York or how to update your resources, please contact the Bureau of Crisis, Emergency, and Stabilization Initiatives at Crisis.Initiative@omh.ny.gov.

Thank you to each and every one of you for what you do every day to help New Yorkers!


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