In less than two weeks, the new 988 system launches. Mandated by Congress in 2020, 988 is basically the mental health version of 911 that launches nationwide July 16. Implementation of the 988 system – and how to pay for everything from staffing to resources – was left up to individual states. Washington State is far ahead of the pack on that front as one of only four states to pass implementation legislation, including a comprehensive funding plan.
Democratic State Rep. Tina Orwall the bill and has high hopes for what she calls a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
“Starting July 16 of this year, when you hit that number, Your call will be directed to a clinician who will be able to talk to you about what’s going on, they will be doing suicide assessments, they’ll be helping connect people to resources, whether those are more urgent in nature or follow up. And they really are going to be an important kind of first step for a person who’s having a behavioral health crisis or a loved one who’s worried about somebody who may be in crisis,” explained Orwall, adding that July 16 is just the beginning when it comes to the long-term vision.
988 suicide lifeline facing local, national staffing shortages ahead of July 16 launch
“This is more than a three-digit phone number. We’re using this opportunity to rebuild the whole crisis system. And that’s going to take time. Not only is it the call center, but developing these crisis response teams. And then

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