Dial 988 for mental health emergencies: A call for supporting mental health from prevention through crisis

Koa Health
Publish Date

It’s ok not to be ok. But it’s not ok to suffer in silence.

This month, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline launched its new 988 number, making in-the-moment support more accessible for those experiencing a mental health crisis.

The new 988 number is easier to recall than the original 800-273-TALK (8255) number, allowing people to call, chat or text with trained counselors from over 200 call centers across the country. It also highlights the critical importance of mental health, aligning itself with 911 for medical emergencies.

According to the CDC, one life was lost to suicide every eleven minutes in 2020. That same year, the hotline fielded 2.4 million calls, texts and chats, which rose to 3.6 million in 2021. When the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline made its debut in 2005, it took in just 50,000 calls. A mental health crisis is no longer emerging—it’s here.

In his State of the Union address earlier this year, President Biden emphasized the need to increase access to mental health support to tackle the nation’s growing mental health crisis. In addition, federal investments in the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline were increased from $24 million to $432 million in 2022 in an effort to ensure more people have access to help when they need it.

This increased investment in emergency mental health support is a step in the right direction, but more needs to be done to address the full spectrum of mental wellbeing concerns.

Don't wait for a crisis to take care of your mental health

Mental health is more than the absence of mental illness. Everyone has mental health. It’s a continuum that one will likely move back and forth on throughout their lives. But the largest portion of the population really needs the resources and encouragement to learn behaviors and personal tools that support mental good health—before they get to a more critical tipping point.

At Koa Health, our vision is mental health for all. We are on a mission to create simple, personalized and accessible mental wellbeing support by taking an approach to providing personalized, evidence-based support when you need it most, right in your back pocket. The power of technology powered by clinical expertise and evidence-based outcomes enables us to reach individuals across the mental health care spectrum—including the large portion of employees that fall within the “missing middle.” In other words, we’re helping people who need more than deep breathing exercises and guided meditations, but who might not need, or want, face-to-face care.

Mental health can’t wait. To learn more about how Koa Health can support your employee and member populations, contact us at info@koahealth.com, or schedule a call with one of our experts, here.

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Koa Health

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Our diverse team of developers, researchers, psychologists and behavioral health experts work together to create practical, thought-provoking content to accompany our range of digital therapeutics.