A crisis line worker sits in front of several computer screens ready to assist a caller.

988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline Marks One-Year Anniversary with Increasing Call Volume

As Arizona’s primary 988 provider, Tempe-based Solari Crisis & Human Services continues its outreach across the state, particularly on vulnerable communities such as veterans, the indigenous, black, and LGBTQ+ populations. Since the launch of the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline a year ago, there have been more than 63,000 calls in Arizona alone, exemplifying the need for mental health services in communities statewide. Solari attributes the consistent growth in 988 call volume to increased public exposure to the line and its new three-digit number, but also to a decrease in stigma in using mental health resources.

Solari identified veterans as one of those highly vulnerable populations as from 2015-2019, the suicide rate for veterans is twice that of non-veterans according to a study conducted by the ASU Center for Violence Prevention and Community Safety.

“While we know there is still much work to do in the mental health space, we see the increase in calls to 988 as a sign of progress and hope. Each call is one individual who, hopefully, we can support and provide the resources they need to feel safe,” says Solari President/CEO Justin Chase. “Talking about mental health can be difficult, but we want the community to know that as we enter year two, we remain as committed as ever to providing a safe and supportive space for Arizonans to seek help and find hope through 988.” During the lifeline’s first year, Solari reports that the primary reasons for 988 calls have been thoughts of suicide or self-harm, anxiety, and social concerns.

The Suicide and Crisis Lifeline allows people to dial, text, or chat 988 to receive mental health help just as they would if they dial 911 for physical emergencies. The helpline is free, confidential, and staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with professionally trained Crisis Intervention Specialists. Assistance is available around the clock in English and Spanish and is accessible in multiple additional languages via real-time interpreter services.

When someone calls, texts, or chats 988, crisis specialists ask for the caller’s name and date of birth, but callers may remain anonymous if they choose. The specialist will then assess the caller’s and others’ safety and ask what support is needed. All information provided is private and confidential. Eighty five percent of the time, crisis call specialists are able to stabilize the situation over the phone.

Call, text, or chat 988 to connect with a trained and caring crisis specialist who will listen and assist with your mental health needs or those of a loved one.

Solari Crisis & Human Services is an award-winning, Tempe-based non-profit organization dedicated to Inspiring hope and helping individuals through a continuum of health care services. Learn more at https://solari-inc.org.

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