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Doña Ana County is ready for new 988


Doña Ana County is ready for 988 suicide and crisis lifeline

The new three-digit 988 suicide and crisis lifeline went live nationwide July 16, and the behavioral health community in Doña Ana County is ready, the county said in a news release.

Anyone experiencing mental health-related distress, including thoughts of suicide, mental health or substance abuse crisis or any other kind of emotional distress, can reach compassionate, accessible care by calling 988, the county said. The line is also available to those worried about a loved one who may need crisis support.

By calling or texting 988, county residents can be connected to a trained crisis counselor, the news release said. If in-person assistance is needed, 988 can dispatch a mobile team that will connect the caller to the Crisis Triage Center (CTC), the county's 24/7/365 facility that addresses mental health and substance use crises.

Referrals to other area behavioral health services can be made as well, if needed.

"We stand ready to serve as a resource to address the needs of our communities in Doña Ana County," CTC Director Karina Diaz said.

"Following the pandemic, many are finding it difficult to find normalcy or adjust to the new normal,” said county Health and Human Services Department Director Jamie Michael. “This two-year period of disease spread and isolation potentially made a bad situation worse when there was a lack of access to crisis care."

The 988 phone number provides easier access to the Lifeline network and related crisis resources, which is different from the public safety purposes of 911, which focuses on dispatching emergency medical services, fire and police, the county said.

Lifeline is a national network of more than 200 local, independent crisis centers equipped to help people in mental health-related distress or experiencing a suicidal crisis via call, chat or text.

For more information, visit 988nm.org.