CHICAGO — Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker announced Friday that the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) is rolling out a new service.
The new service is a joint effort of IDHS’ division of mental health and the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
The state’s mental health safety net is rolling out the 988 lifeline. The number 988 is a new national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline. The code will be available nationwide beginning Saturday.
It will connect you to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL), which has been in existence since 2005. Volunteers working on the lifeline are able to assist those in crisis to get the help and mental health assistance they need.
NSPL made this conversion to make the service easier to access trained life-saving crisis counselors.
“Thanks to the many incredible counselors answering the call to serve those in crisis, the expanded 988 Lifeline number will help save many lives,” said Gov. Pritzker. “To any Illinois resident who might be struggling, know that you are not alone. We are here to support you. You can receive help by dialing or texting 988.”
The 988 hotline, which is both a call-and-text line, is a crucial first step in ensuring SAMSHA’s three-part aspiration for mental health crises. They are having someone to call, having someone to respond, and having someplace to go to get the help they need
State and federal funding is helping boost 988 staffing
State and federal funding has made it possible to bolster staffing in the state’s current six call centers. This is to help ensure that Illinois calls are answered in-state.
Pritzker committed nearly $15 million to bolster operations. State investment in this resource has increased throughout the Pritzker administration. Currently, it represents $830.3 million in the current budget for the Fiscal Year 2023. This differs by nearly $250 million during the administration of Bruce Rauner.
Transition will not eliminate NSPL toll-free number
The transition will not eliminate the toll-free number for NSPL, which may still be reached at (800) 273-TALK (8255).
Those not in crisis and seeking treatment can get more information. They can access those resources from the 988 Hotline website or by calling (800) 662-HELP (4357).
Jake Leonard, a broadcast media and journalism veteran, is the editor-in-chief of Heartland Newsfeed. Leonard is also GM and program director of Heartland Newsfeed Radio Network, wrestling editor and contributing writer for Ambush Sports, a contributing writer for My Sports Vote and Midwest Sports Network, and a former contributor to Bleacher Report and Overtime Heroics. He resides at home in Nokomis, Ill. with his dog Buster.