The new National Suicide Prevention Hotline number was activated on Saturday, July 16, changing it from a 10-digit number to three easy-to-remember numbers—988—to get those who need mental health assistance an easier way to find the help.

Local mental health professionals at Research Psychiatric Center (RPC)—part of HCA Midwest Health, say they are hopeful this new number will make access to services more accessible, especially for those considering suicide.

“If you or a loved one are struggling with mental health or in a crisis situation, Research Psychiatric Center professionals urge you to take advantage of this free hotline and know that suicide is never the answer,” says Research Psychiatric Center Outpatient Services Manager and therapist Justina Weber. “There are resources available to get you through whatever it is that you are going through.

“As a mental health professional who is on the frontlines daily, I have great hope for this as a tool—it’s easy to remember; it’s a national hotline number so people can get help on a whole spectrum of service needs, wherever they are. They can call to chat and even to text with this one number. The text aspect will be good for younger people since it’s their primary form of communication.

Weber stresses that it’s important for the local community to know that in addition to the new number, there are vast mental health resources to support anyone having a mental health crisis.

“There are services including outpatient counseling, inpatient services and programs,” she says.

“They’ve saved my life”: A patient’s perspective Linda Clavijo, a recent Research Psychiatric Center patient graduate knows how depression and anxiety can seep into a person’s life and how devastating they can be. 

“Depression and anxiety don’t show up the same way for everyone, and that’s what I’ve learned through the intensive process of healing at Research Psychiatric Center,” says Clavijo, who has completed the RPC inpatient and PHP program and will soon start the IHP program. “Sometimes it’s avoiding events like a friends or family gathering, ignoring a project, missing work. For others it may be finding relief with things that you shouldn’t be doing—like over-shopping to catch that buzz in the midst of depression. And when the shopping is over, you’re super depressed.

Clavijo has learned how to deal with her mental health challenges and prevent episodes—finding joy in meaningful, healthy ways.

“The mental health professionals have saved my life. The new 988 number will be a lifeline for others and resources in our community like RPC are there to help others do the work.  The bottom line: you matter, and you are not alone!”

If you or a loved one is experiencing emotional distress, we invite you to call the Research Psychiatric Center Behavioral Health Crisis Line (844) 207-4511 for information regarding admissions and psychiatric evaluations or to speak with someone about emotional or mental distress.