PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Gov. Dan McKee said Wednesday that more Rhode Islanders than ever have been connected to mental health resources thanks to the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.
Since its official launch in July 2022, the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline has answered 6,285 calls from Rhode Islanders in crisis, which is more than double the calls fielded by the 10-digit National Suicide Prevention Hotline the year prior.
“Making it easier for people to call, and answering their calls, quickly increases the chances that they will get the help they need, and it can also save lives,” McKee said. “That’s why it is important to recognize Rhode Island’s efforts with 988 and to continue to spread the word, so that people know that finding help is as easy as dialing those three numbers.”
Rhode Island has consistently been one of the most responsive states each month for the percentage of calls answered in-state and average speed to pick up the phone, according to the governor.
Nationwide, 988 has been dialed or texted nearly 5 million times of the past year for a wide variety of crisis-related reasons. Of those calls, 42% resulted in metals health resources being provided and less than 2% required dispatching first responders.
Sen. Jack Reed was one of the main advocates in Congress to create the three-digit lifeline.
“I helped create the national 988 Lifeline to make it easier for people to access the help they need, because behind every call and every text is a person in crisis,” Reed said. “We’ve got to ensure the resources are there to save lives. I’m committed to ensuring that mental health care is available and accessible.”
Call responses over the past year have ranged from basic emotional support and sharing of information and resources to referrals for care or recovery services and collaboration with crisis responders.