Baltimore Youth Dial In To The New 988 Mental Health Crisis Line

Gov. Wes Moore greets young people at the Regional Institute for Children and Adolescents. Screenshot via @govwesmoore on Instagram.

What’s happening?

The new 988 crisis hotline dominated the discussion at a youth mental health roundtable on Friday, Sarah True reports for the Baltimore Banner. Gov. Wes Moore, U.S Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, and other government officials were joined by crisis response providers, mental health advocacy organizations, and youth advocates at the roundtable hosted by the Behavioral Health System of Baltimore. 

How does the new crisis line work?

The 988 crisis line provides immediate, 24-hour response and includes an anonymous text and chat feature. The federal government launched the new line in July, and calls to the National Suicide Prevention and the Here2Help hotlines are now re-reouted to the 988 number, which is operated by local crisis responders.

Crisis responders in Maryland—one of the few states to dedicate funding to the initiative—said the new line, designed to replace the National Suicide Prevention hotline, was beginning to catch on in the state.

Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center, one of the eight crisis responders in the state, fields about 3,000 text and chat messages per month, which executive director Mariana Izraelson described as a significant increase. She said the organization receives messages from kids of all ages, with incoming chats usually rising during school lunchtime and after 8 p.m.

Anything else I should know? 

Last year, the Maryland General Assembly allocated $10.5 million to maintain the 988 line for two years of operation. A bill was introduced this session that, if passed, would dedicate another $12 million to address the growth in demand and bolster the state’s crisis infrastructure. 

You can read more here.

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