211 Broward Joins New Suicide Prevention Hotline in Lifesaving Partnership – NBC 6 South Florida

There’s a new number you can call if you’re feeling desperate.

This number is 988.

This is the new National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline issue when you, or someone you know, is in the throes of a sanity battle.

“There are times when you feel like you’re in a really dark place and you feel lonely,” said Francisco Isaza, director of operations at 211 Broward. “I want everyone to know that there is a number to call when you need hope.”

211 Broward is the local response team when someone calls from a 954 or 754 area code and dials 988.

“You’re going to talk to someone who cares about you, who supports you,” Isaza said.

Calling 988 will put you in touch with an advisor, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“We might get a call for someone who is suffering from depression and is looking for therapy or any kind of advice,” said Cecilia Boza, a counselor with 988.

Counselors can also be contacted for other crisis situations such as financial stress, substance abuse or suicidal thoughts.

“That listening ear could open up a dialogue and conversation about potential support group resources, or go to see or even meet with a psychiatrist,” Boza said.

The new hotline was launched nationally earlier in July.

Since the partnership with 211 Broward began, there has been an increase in local calls.

Their data shows a 16% increase in calls from Broward County.

Callers may wonder who exactly will answer when you call 988 for help.

“It certainly doesn’t mean we’re going to call 911 when you call,” Isaza said. “When you call, we’ll tell you about your story so we can communicate with you and keep you safe.”

Boza explained that there are steps and protocols in place to determine the appropriate type of response to each call.

“What we do is we do a series of different assessments,” Boza said. “One of them is a suicidal and homicidal assessment. We assess just that, whether you are a danger to yourself or to others.

The service is free and confidential, but it does not replace 911 in the event of an emergency.