How a 20-minute phone call is saving lives in Utah
Five months after the national rollout of the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline some challenges remain, but Utah’s crisis workers keep up with demand.
Dina Nielsen works with young people struggling with their mental health and suicidal thoughts for her job managing crisis intervention for an online college.
So when a friend reached out to Nielsen for help finding mental health resources for her daughter, Nielsen’s first instinct was to call 988, the national-three digit suicide and crisis lifeline.
Rather than hearing the voice of a human being, Nielsen was surprised when she was greeted with an automated voice.
She wishes there was more information about what to expect when calling 988, so that those in crisis know it might be a few minutes before they reach someone, but once they do, they will receive the support needed.
It’s been five months since the National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline shifted from a seven-digit number to the simple and more easily remembered 988. The Tribune spoke with the people running the state lifeline, leaders who advocated for the changes and mental health professionals about their hopes for the service and its the future in improving mental health care in Utah.