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“There will be a short term drop-off so that they can get an immediate assessment and there will be a determination about whether they need to keep them overnight or a few hours for observation,” Jones-Kelley said.

She said police will be able to bring people in mental health crisis to the center, which should also mean saving police time compared to going to a hospital emergency room.

Jones-Kelley anticipates a small percentage of people would need to be transferred to a longer-term setting than the 23-hour center.

Plans for the new 988 system have been in the works for years, dating back to 2019 when the FCC proposed a three-digit, easy-to-remember number that’s the “911″ of suicide prevention.

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The local effort has grown from suicide prevention to more broadly address mental health crisis calls.

Calls to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (1-800-273-TALK) will be redirected to 988, which is taking over for the longer 10-digit hotline. Both numbers will work, however, after the July 16 launch.

One of the steps already being taken is that Crisis Now, operated by RI International and Behavioral Health Link, is replacing Samaritan CrisisCare for emergency mental health services for Montgomery County.

Jones-Kelley said RI International has experience doing this kind of work in other communities.

“They’re able to get people connected back into treatment services. And all of their statistics are excellent for demonstrating a huge drop in recidivism and a huge increase in ongoing services,” she said.

Montgomery County’s Crisis Now hotline went live Jan. 1 at 833-580-CALL or 833-580-2255. This number also will eventually become 988 when the infrastructure is in place.

“We know that remembering a three-digit number beats a 10-digit number any day, particularly in times of crisis, and I encourage every state to rev up planning to implement 988 for the sake of saving lives,” U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a December update.

Jones-Kelley said Crisis Now has already taken more than 460 crisis calls this year, with workers able to go out and conduct assessments.

She said 911 dispatchers are also being trained about the new system and will be able to refer calls back to the mental health line.

“They’re going to have a backline so that they can refer those calls back to them and they’re not sending out a police officer unless the police officer is necessary on the scene,” she said.

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In 2020, about 72,560 people in Ohio called the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, according to data reported by the hotline. About 17,000 callers were transferred to the Veterans Crisis Line.

In 2019, 1,809 Ohioans died by suicide, in a slight decrease from 1,836 suicides in 2018. The numbers for 2020 and 2021 are preliminary and incomplete.

The state is still working through the funding model for 988. The launch of Crisis Now is being funded by a combination of state and local dollars, which includes funding from the Montgomery County Human Services Levy.

In December, the Biden-Harris administration announced $177 million for building up existing hotline operations and $105 million to build up staffing at crisis call centers.


How to get help

The 24/7 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available now at 800-273-8255 for free and confidential support and connection to resources. By July 16, 2022, people will be able to call 988 to reach help.

Montgomery County’s Crisis Now hotline went live Jan. 1 at 833-580-CALL or 833-580-2255. This number also will eventually become 988 when the infrastructure is in place.

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By Betty C. Giordano

Welcome to my site. My name is Betty C. Giordano and I am a blogger of everything related to mobile, news, events and reality in general. I hope you enjoy reading my content.

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