Memorial Behavioral Health Counselors are making a difference with the new 9-8-8 lifeline. Over the past six months, Memorial Behavioral Health counselors answer local calls to the nationwide 9-8-8 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. This service, intended as “911 for mental health” was created by the U.S. Congress in 2020 as a successor to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and was launched across America in 2022.
MBH crisis counselors help answer calls from anyone that has a 217 area code. The service complements other crisis response programs including the 8th street clinic in Springfield and the Mobile Crisis Response team. Diana Knaebe, President of Memorial Behavioral Health says that the goal of 9-8-8 is to make it easier for people across the country to access mental health resources in times of crisis.
Since 9-8-8 launched in July, MBH has answered 366 calls from local residents, with around half of callers reporting they live in Sangamon County with 184. Christian County reported 6 calls. 138 came from an unknown location.
During the past six months, MBH staff provided 89% of callers with the help they needed over the phone including follow-up calls if desired. A small percentage of callers sometimes require more intensive services. Around 6% of callers were referred to the MBH Mobile Crisis Response team.