The 988 suicide prevention hotline connects people struggling with mental health issues with trained professionals –

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Residents of San Diegan who are experiencing a mental health or addiction crisis, including suicidal thoughts, will be able to call or text 988 to get help for themselves or a loved one. dear.

Veronica Campbell, a licensed marriage and family therapist, joined KUSI’s Lauren Phinney on “Good Morning San Diego” to talk about the new 988 line.

On Saturday, the number 988 will connect to a qualified counselor who can help them and connect them to services in the area where they live. This new service is in addition to the San Diego County Access and Crisis Line at 888-724-7240.

“Anyone struggling with an addiction or mental health issue, such as depression, anxiety, suicide, loss or anger, can call the Access and Crisis Line to speak to a representative,” said said Dr. Luke Bergmann, director of behavioral health services at the County Agency for Health and Human Services. “ACL clinicians are trained to answer questions related to behavioral health and crisis situations and can provide compassionate and knowledgeable support to callers.”

With its launch, 988 will serve as the new national phone number to connect people to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a nationwide network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people who are suicidal, mentally ill and/or drug addicts. crisis, 24 hours a day, seven days a week in the United States. People can still call or text the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Confidential and free, the Access and Crisis Line offers countywide support and resources in over 200 languages ​​from experienced counselors on all topics related to behavioral health, mental health and substance use, including substance use support services, crisis intervention, mobile crisis intervention services, suicide prevention and mental health referral.

During the initial rollout, calls and texts to 988 will be connected to a local crisis call center depending on the phone number the call is made from and the call center’s capabilities.

According to national data, in 2020 suicide claimed the lives of more than 44,000 Americans, and evidence suggests the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated suicidal thoughts and actions. Locally, 419 suicides were reported that same year.

People in need of immediate medical attention should call 911.