988: The National Suicide Hotline is moving to a new number

The National Suicide and Crisis Hotline is moving to a new number on July 16.
The National Suicide and Crisis Hotline is moving to a new number on July 16.
Published: Jul. 15, 2022 at 6:24 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -The National Suicide and Crisis Hotline will have a new number starting July 16. Instead of dialing 911 or 1-800-273-8255, people in need can call or text 988.

When an East Tennessean calls or texts 988, they will be paired with a trained crisis intervention counselor through the contact care line in Oak Ridge. The crisis will either be solved at that moment or be handled by outside specials.

Specials with the new line could also connect you to the nearest emergency room and outside services like the Mental Health Association of East Tennessee.

The switch comes at a time when the suicide rate is growing not only across the nation but across East Tennessee. Just a few months ago, the Mental Health Association of East Tennessee reported Knox County leads all other urban counties in the number of suicide attempts or related injuries.

“It has been an extremely long time coming, but I’ll tell you how blessed we are here in the state of Tennessee,” said CEO Mental Health Association of East Tennessee Ben Harrington. “We have much more resources that some of those other states and that’s all because the state department of mental health, governor and the legislators have been investing resources in that crisis continuum for many years.”

Contact Care Line in Oak Ridge will be the only operator in the state answering texts for all help in Tennessee.

The company is looking to fill nearly a dozen operator positions. You can apply here.

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