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NCDHHS Receives Grant for 988 Suicide Prevention Lifeline Preparation

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North Carolina has been awarded a grant that will allow the state to implement a new 3-digit suicide prevention hotline.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is scheduled to switch to 988 in July 2022. Congress has established the 988 number as a simplified resource for individuals in crisis who need support.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has received a grant totaling nearly $130,000 earmarked for implementing the new Lifeline number.

Kody Kinsley is Deputy Secretary for Behavioral Health & Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities with the department. Kinsley says NCDHHS will partner with the North Carolina Suicide Prevention Call Center, state leaders, and other officials to ensure a successful rollout of the 988 number.

According to a news release from NCDHHS, preliminary data for 2020 show that more than 37,000 callers received crisis intervention and referrals. That’s an almost 12% increase from 2019.

The department says that those currently in need of support should continue to use the existing Lifeline number, 1-800-273-TALK (8255).