SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – It’s been two months since the National Hotline launched the three-digit number: “988.” One month after launching, the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline received more than 1,400 calls in the state of Louisiana.
“It’s free of charge, and it’s staffed by trained crisis counselors who can offer assistance for someone maybe suffering from a mental health crisis or in need of emotional support,” said Assistant Secretary of the Louisiana Office of Behavioral Health Karen Stubbs.
Stubbs says the service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There are two call centers here in Louisiana, including one in Bossier Parish, answering all calls from area codes 318 and 337. She says the line is there to support anyone struggling with sadness, loneliness, and depression.
“It might be someone who’s actively contemplating suicide. However, the calls also could be someone who just wants to talk; someone who’s maybe in the past has thought about suicide, someone who is depressed or anxious and needs to talk through that.”
The new three-digit number makes it easier for people to remember in suicidal crises or emotional distress. Stubbs says the line is also open to those asking for advice.
“It’s also important to know you can call if you’re asking for advice about a friend or family members.”
Suicide is a leading cause of death among most age groups. Stubbs encourages anyone who needs help to call 9-8-8.
“What do you have to lose? Please, we’re asking for you to call. We’re asking for you to seek help. It is there and available, and maybe you don’t need it this time, but please commit it to memory. Think about it next time. And know it is an immediate option for you,” says Stubbs.