The Suicide Prevention Hotline has a new, shorter number – 988

When a person dials 988, they are connected to a qualified emergency adviser. SAMHSA predicts the new code will help reduce pressure on the 911 system by redirecting mental health calls. Currently, less than 2% of emergency calls require a connection to emergency services.

“We understand that this is not a magic wand that will make everything better, but it is an important step to ensure that more people get the help they need in time,” AFSCME member Becca Ryan Roberts, crisis intervention specialist at Lines for Life. call the Veterans Crisis Line. “We are able to provide help at that time, give them hope for at least one more day and point them in a direction that will hopefully keep them alive.”

In 2020, the United States had one suicide death about every 11 minutes, and suicide is the leading cause of death among people aged 10 to 34, according to SAMSHA System 988 Information Page.

Altaras, Roberts and their Lines for Life colleagues negotiate their first contract after organize their union earlier this yearso that they have a voice in the future of a rapidly changing industry.

For Ryan Roberts, having a voice at work is a huge win for workers — and callers in crisis. Ryan Roberts said unionized workers will be able to advocate for better staffing and resourcing and better working conditions, which will enable staff members to provide exceptional care to people calling the 988 helpline .

“We unionized not only for the quality of our work, but also for the callers themselves, because we want everyone to get the help they need when they need it,” said Ryan Roberts.