We have been waiting for this, an easy phone number to connect people in a mental health crisis to professional help! Well, help has arrived.

Girl and bipolar disorder
KatarzynaBialasiewicz/Getty Images
loading...

All of us, Michigan and nationwide, are now able to call, text or chat the 988 suicide crisis lifeline. It went live Saturday.

There was the old 10-digit phone number to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, but truthfully, someone in a mental health crisis was probably not going to be able to face dialing the old number. Thankfully, now it's just three, 9-8-8!

Network 180/Facebook
Network 180/Facebook
loading...

Network 180, the Kent County Community Mental Authority says this makes a huge difference between life and death. Andrew Boekestein, strategic project manager at Network 180 said:

"People wrestling with suicidal thoughts are usually quite ambivalent about it. Often times looking for some type of lifeline or something to tip the balance towards life. If a number like 988 can stay in their head, that might be enough.”

A call to 9-8-8 hotline is free and anonymous, and it’s available 24/7.

There are now 200 local crisis center around the U.S. answering the calls. Here in Michigan, all calls will be routed through the Michigan Crisis and Access Line (MiCAL), except here in Kent and Macomb counties. Network 180 will handle the cases in Kent County.

Senior Woman Comforting Depressed Husband Sitting On Bench
Monkey Business Images Ltd/Getty Images
loading...

Fox17 reports that we are very fortunate here in Michigan and Kent County because preparations have been going on for quite awhile with a program and partnerships that began last year.

Girl hiding in bathroom
KatarzynaBialasiewicz/Getty Images
loading...

It's pretty obvious there has been a huge increase in mental health issues. Michigan alone got over 57,000 calls last year, and now with the ease of dialing 988, that is only going to go up. But, you know what? That's a good thing.

“There is no risk in calling 988,”  Boekestein said. “There’s no wrong call. Don’t feel like your situation isn’t big enough, important enough, or you don’t live in the right area. Anyone is free to call if you’re concerned about yourself or a loved one.”

Here are some tips for self-care during the pandemic: