The long 11-digit phone number for help for those feeling suicidal has changed. Illinois Governor JB Pritzker announced that the Illinois Department of Human Services Division of Mental Health is expanding Illinois’ mental health safety net by rolling out 9-8-8. 9-8-8 will be the new national suicide prevention and mental health crisis line. The line went active over the weekend.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline has existed since 2005 and is now available nationwide making it easier for those in crisis to get the help they need. IDHS Division of Mental Health Director Dr. David Albert says that while the name has changed the service remains the same, to help those who need it.
Dr. Albert says if you need it, no matter what, he says to use it.
This is also a text line and is a service for you to have someone to call, someone to respond to, and somewhere to go. Suicide is the leading cause of death for young adults ages 15-34 in Illinois and the fourth leading cause of death for those ages 35-44. Suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in the state. Dr. Albert says a lot has to do with the pandemic and those who are struggling alone.
Governor Pritzker has also called for additional funding including $15 million to help bolster the 9-8-8 crisis response call center. Investment into mental health services has been a priority for the Governor, who has added $830.3 million to the current budget.