$3.3 million grant will fund more mental health counselors for 988 calls

Published: Apr. 27, 2022 at 12:21 PM EDT
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RALEIGH, N.C. (WECT) - North Carolina has been awarded a $3.3 million grant to expand support for people in mental health crisis.

On July 16, 2022, the 9-8-8 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number replaces the 10-digit 1-800-273-TALK number currently in use.

“Increasing access to behavioral health services, especially in times of crisis is a top priority,” said NCDHHS Secretary Kody H. Kinsley. “9-8-8 is an easy-to-remember number people can access from wherever they are and get the help they need. This is a resource that will save lives and is an important investment in supporting the behavioral health and resilience of North Carolinians.”

The 988 call center is staffed 24 hours a day, year-round with people trained to provided crisis counseling and information about community resources available.

Following the transition, the call center is expected to receive an increased volume of calls, so the grant funds will be used to add and train more staff. The grant funding is from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration.

“We are excited for the rollout of 9-8-8 and want to ensure every caller receives quick access to the help they need,” said Deepa Avula, Director of the Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services. “This will be instrumental in increasing access to crisis services in our communities.”

Click here for more information about the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

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