GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The 988 suicide and crisis lifeline has been in place for about two and a half months now and is seeing an increased use.
The US Department of Health and Human Services said there was a 45% increase in calls to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline compared to last year for the month of August, the first full month for the 988 line.
In Michigan, which has had a functional suicide hotline for some time, the increase was not as drastic. There has still been an increase in use, especially of the chat feature.
“Another thing we are seeing is that the chat number is very active. … For young people and maybe other people who really prefer not to have a verbal communication, the chat feature has been something that may have surprised people but has been also heavily utilized,” said Dr. Debra Pinals, the medical director for behavioral health and forensic programs for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
Pinals pointed out that the 988 crisis line is still new. She said it will take time to fully develop, just like 911, which is a model for the new line.