The 988 National Suicide and Mental Health Crisis Lifeline has been launched nationally and Ohioans can now call 988 for any behavioral health crisis. While national and statewide 988 public awareness campaigns will not begin until 2023, it is important for community members to understand the difference between a mental health and addiction “emergency” and a mental health and addiction “crisis.”
Examples of mental health and addiction emergencies are active suicide threats, threatening harm to self or others, self-injury that needs medical attention, and a drug overdose. For these scenarios, individuals should call 911.
Examples of mental health and addiction crisis are talking about suicide or planning to harm themselves, talking about harm to others, self-injury that doesn’t need immediate medical attention, overuse of alcohol or other drugs, extreme depression, anxiety, or other mental illness symptoms.
Ohioans who are experiencing a mental health or addiction crisis and their family members will be able to call, chat, or text 988 in order to reach a trained counselor who can offer help and support. The Nord Center in Lorain County was the chosen call center to handle the 988 calls from our Board district (Seneca, Ottawa, Sandusky and Wyandot counties).
Executive Director Handru stated, “988 is an easy-to-remember number for individuals and family members experiencing a crisis. However, the Board will continue to offer support to its local 24/7 crisis hotline (1-800-826-1306) through a contract with Firelands Counseling and Recovery Services. At this time, we expect that most of the 988 calls that will be answered by The Nord Center will be transferred to Firelands’ hotline.
“We want to ensure that individuals are not falling through the cracks and are being linked to services in the local community. Additionally, our local hotline will continue to assist law enforcement calls, hospital discharge planning, and appointment reminders. We want to thank the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services for working diligently to implement 988 and setting aside funds to strengthen and support crisis services in communities throughout the state,” said Hanru.
“Remember, there is hope and help. If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health or addiction-related crisis that is non-life-threatening, call, chat, or text 988 for free. Or, call our local hotline at 1-800-826-1306. If you or someone you know is in immediate, life-threatening danger, call 911. For additional resources or information about 988, please visit the Board’s website at www.mhsosw.org.