HEALTH

Utah mental health centers ready for switch to new 988 number

Mar 18, 2022, 8:30 AM | Updated: Apr 7, 2022, 11:26 am

Suicide prevention concert at the Maverik Center...

Photo: Adobe Stock

SALT LAKE CITY — Starting in July, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number will be upgraded to a three-digit calling code similar to 9-1-1, but for mental health support. The new calling code will be 9-8-8 and it can be accessed from any phone.

Utah mental health professionals said they are excited about the changeover.

“It’s easier to remember a three-digit [number] than a lengthy number,” Wasatch Behavioral Health Clinical Director Doran Williams said. He also said implementing the new number will help Utah mental health facilities do the work they’ve been doing.

“There’s a lot of centers now that have mobile crisis outreach teams that will go out, get a call [and] go out to wherever they need to,” Williams said. Partnering with law enforcement to help them understand mental health issues has also been helpful, according to Williams.

But despite the anticipation for the new calling code, some mental health professionals worry about handling future demand based on the number of calls.

“Some of the apprehension is just not knowing exactly what to expect,” Rachel Lucinsky with the Hunstman Mental Health Institute said. She is Director of Community Crisis Intervention and Support Services. 

“Wanting to make sure that we’re at our best and that we’re adequately staffed and resourced so that as more people are aware of these services, we can be appropriately prepared to meet that demand and be at our highest quality possible,” she said.

Williams had a different perspective.

“There’s always some bugs to work at along the way,” he said. “But I think it’s been very collaborative with each of the mental health centers throughout the state working together with [the Hunstman Mental Health Institute].”

Lucynski said she hopes the future provides more opportunities both for those who want to help and for those seeking help.

“My hopes are really that people just continue to feel like there is a well-known number and a well-known resource to use when either they have thoughts of overwhelming mental health challenges or potentially suicidal thoughts,” she said.

“I see a broader and more diverse workforce, especially now that, with the pandemic, we’ve really embraced remote and hybrid work structures where we can have more crisis workers across the entire state of Utah that are supporting this system and providing really localized expertise for people in their communities.”

Related stories:

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Health

BYU nursing student Jane Pearson smiles before donating her bone marrow in late 2023....

Emma Everett Johnson, KSL.COM

BYU student donates bone marrow to potentially save stranger’s life

BYU nursing student Jane Pearson is donating bone marrow to a stranger through the National Marrow Donor Program.

16 minutes ago

FILE -- A comfort dog waits for its owner at Salt Lake City International Airport. Experts warn to ...

Britt Johnson

Traveling puts pets at greater risk for canine influenza

Experts warn that now is the time to get pet dogs immunized against canine influenza. 

6 days ago

People present their pets during an animal fashion show....

Mariah Maynes

Here are the health benefits of having pets

According to the USU Extension, interacting with and caring for pets can have positive impacts on your health.

7 days ago

(Canva)...

Michelle Lee

Boost your immune system with good nutrition

Let’s Get Moving Host Maria Shilaos spoke with Functional Medicine Nutritionist Karin Reiter to learn how nutrition affects our immune system.

8 days ago

An apple pie surrounded by apples....

Kennedy Camarena

Study shows how processed foods aren’t so great for you

It's always been a pretty well-known fact that processed foods are not that great for people. Now, there's a new study to prove it.

9 days ago

FILE: A two-year-old, plays with dogs outside their home in Ogden on Sunday, Aug. 6, 2023. (Megan N...

Britt Johnson

The spring season leads to increased cases of canine parvovirus

Parvo is especially dangerous for young dogs. It has the potential to wreak havoc on their digestive system.

11 days ago

Sponsored Articles

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.

...

Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

Utah mental health centers ready for switch to new 988 number