988 mental health helpline reopens after day-long hiatus

FRIDAY, Dec. 2, 2022 (HealthDay News) — A national hotline that people can call in a mental health emergency went down for a day, then resumed later Thursday.

People in crisis can still reach counselors during the outage by texting 988 or visiting 988lifeline.org. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s disaster helpline was also down.

It was not immediately clear what caused the outage, although a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said the agency was investigating. Associated Press report.

“While HHS and the VA took immediate action to provide support to 988 callers via text, chat and alternate numbers, the interruption of telephone service was unacceptable and HHS will continue to investigate the root cause of the interruption,” said HHS spokeswoman Sarah Lowenhay Sarah Lovenheim at Twitter.

Intrado, a Nebraska telecommunications company, provided emergency services. The company issued a statement on Thursday saying it was “working to restore full service as quickly as possible.”The company did not respond to multiple requests for comment Associated Press report.

The 988 hotline was launched in July, with mental health counselors working across the country, and has since taken about 8,000 calls a day, Associated Press report. People can call these three numbers, similar to calling 911, for help.

Associated Press article

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