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3-digit suicide hotline coming summer 2022; easier for Coloradans to get mental health resources

Published: Apr. 13, 2021 at 7:32 AM MDT
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - After a record-breaking year of people seeking mental health support during the pandemic, officials are working to bring Coloradans a three-digit suicide hotline number.

The Colorado Department of Human Services, Office of Behavioral Health (OBH), is planning for the rollout of 9-8-8, a new, nationwide, three-digit phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The number is planning to launch summer 2022.

“People remember three digits. It’s really easy for them to sort of not have to go online and type in Colorado Crisis hotline to see what that number is for most people,” said Robert Werthwein of OBH.

The 9-8-8 number is planning to be a national hotline, but Colorado officials are currently figuring out how it will work in our state.

The current Colorado Crisis line saw a 32% increase in calls and texts during the pandemic of people asking for mental health or substance-use support.

“You’re not necessarily going to get a behavioral health specialist if you call 911. You should still call 911 if your life is in immediate danger. But if it’s not, it’s really helpful to have that behavioral health specialist be able to pick up the call and then talk with you and walk with you through what you’re going through,” said Werthwein.

Because 9-8-8 is not yet operational, Coloradans who need mental health and substance use support should continue to contact Colorado Crisis Services by calling 1-844-493-TALK (8255) or texting TALK to 38255.

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