New 988 Mental Health Crisis Hotline Debuts Saturday
The new mental health crisis hotline, 988, debuts on Saturday in Minnesota.
It’s part of a nationwide effort to transition the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to a phone number that people can remember.
Dr. Brian Palmer, Allina Health’s Vice President for Mental Health & Addiction Services, says that he thinks it’s good news for Minnesotans.
“What we know is people who are in a suicidal crisis, the most important thing for them to know is that there is help available,” said Dr. Brian Palmer, Allina Health’s Vice President for Mental Health & Addiction Svcs. “There’s an easy three-digit number that people can call in a dark moment. It really should save lives.”
The Lifeline 10-digit number, 1-800-273-TALK (8255), will continue to be available and will route people to the same resources. People should call 911 if they suspect drug overdose or need immediate medical help.
Suicide is a serious and growing public health concern across the United States and in Minnesota.
The number of suicide deaths and the suicide rate in Minnesota has increased consistently for 20 years. MDH data shows:
From 2016 through 2020, there were more than 10,000 hospital visits for self-harm injuries (i.e., suicide attempts) in Minnesota, and those were mostly among people ages 10-24, predominantly females.
Each year about 75-80% of suicide deaths are among males.
Each year about 50% of suicide deaths are the result of a firearm injury. Suicide usually represents 70-80% of all firearm deaths.
“In a suicidal crisis, people’s thinking gets constricted,” said Palmer. “They have trouble accessing people. They have trouble seeing hope. That’s a temporary state. If in that moment, there’s a simple way they can be connected to somebody, they can get to the other side–where all of the time, they are glad to be alive.”
Palmer says that although suicide is hard to talk about, knowing there’s help available can make all the difference. Helping people with mental health is a growing focus of the medical field.
“We’re investing heavily in trying to prevent suicide and help people work through the darkest times of the mental health crisis,” said Palmer.
To learn more about what Allina Health offers, click here.