© 2024 Connecticut Public

FCC Public Inspection Files:
Public Files Contact · ATSC 3.0 FAQ
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Calls to 988 crisis hotline in Connecticut have surged 50% since July

Mental health concept - person's head with chaotic thought pattern, depression, sadness, anxiety. Mixed media painting. My own work.
Stellalevi/Getty Images
Digital Vision Vectors

State officials in Connecticut say that calls to the new 988 national suicide prevention hotline have surged since the number went live in July.

“Calls to our state crisis contact team have been up 50%,” said Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz, speaking at a news conference on Wednesday in observance of National Suicide Prevention Month. “So you see that there is a need for help.”

Connecticut and all other states rolled out 988 as a resource that anyone can call, text or chat for mental health support. JoShonda Guerrier with the state Department of Children and Families (DCF) said her agency is expanding the prevention outreach to young people.

“The suicide hotline number will now be printed on high school and college IDs,” Guerrier said. “We recognize that the children sitting in today's classrooms have endured a global pandemic, economic unrest and the loss of normal childhood activities, in addition to enduring many other family and community stressors.”

Nancy Navaretta, commissioner of the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, pointed out that the agency was “making access easier through a centralized call center shared with our partners at the Department of Children and Families and operated by the United Way of Connecticut.” She said the call centers in Connecticut have an answer rate of 98%.

September can be a stressful time of year with back-to-school schedules and activities, and shorter days and colder months ahead, Navaretta said. “So we are here today to remind the public that Connecticut's contact center for the 988 suicide and crisis lifeline is successfully responding to people in crisis and is available to help,” she said.

Officials said that calls to the previous lifeline number 1-800-273-8255 will still be answered. The new 988 helpline builds on the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, an existing network of over 200 crisis centers nationwide that are staffed by counselors.

“We can all benefit from honest conversations about mental health,” Bysiewicz said.

Sujata Srinivasan is Connecticut Public Radio’s senior health reporter. Prior to that, she was a senior producer for Where We Live, a newsroom editor, and from 2010-2014, a business reporter for the station.

Stand up for civility

This news story is funded in large part by Connecticut Public’s Members — listeners, viewers, and readers like you who value fact-based journalism and trustworthy information.

We hope their support inspires you to donate so that we can continue telling stories that inform, educate, and inspire you and your neighbors. As a community-supported public media service, Connecticut Public has relied on donor support for more than 50 years.

Your donation today will allow us to continue this work on your behalf. Give today at any amount and join the 50,000 members who are building a better—and more civil—Connecticut to live, work, and play.

Related Content