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Tags: 988 lifeline | mental | health | outline | hhs | agency | suicide

Widespread Outage Shuts Down 988 Mental Health Crisis Hotline

(Newsmax/"American Agenda")

By    |   Thursday, 01 December 2022 09:03 PM EST

The national mental health crisis hotline, 988, incurred a systemwide outage on Thursday, reportedly leading to an hours-long backlog of calls.

According to the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, Thursday's technical issues with the hotline began around 10 a.m. ET.

After that, the organization had difficulties consistently staying on the line with callers presumably in need of assistance.

"The 988 lifeline is currently experiencing a service outage. We are actively working to address the outage. We also understand you may be in crisis and need services immediately," the record message stated.

As a short-term alternative, the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline encouraged veterans to call (877) 267-6030, or call any Veteran Affairs facility and singularly press 7.

"If you're in crisis and you need support, text 988 or chat with us online at 988lifeline.org/chat," the organization wrote on its website.

According to the Veterans Affairs website, there were 6,146 veteran suicides in 2020 — a decrease from the 2019 count (6,489 deaths).

The unadjusted rate of suicide in 2020 among U.S. veterans was 31.7 per 100,000, the VA reports.

Also, counting the 20-year period from 2001-20, age- and sex-adjusted suicide rates for veterans peaked in 2018 and then dropped in 2019 and 2020.

From 2018 to 2020, age- and sex-adjusted suicide rates for veterans fell by 9.7%, according to VA News.

The 988 lifeline launched early this year, and gets regular oversight from the Department of Health and Human Services.

In a Thursday tweet, HHS spokeswoman Sarah Lovenheim noted the agency has received regular updates about the lifeline's systems outage.

"We've taken immediate action to ensure alternative 988 channels are available to the public," Lovenheim tweeted.

Customers seeking out help through the three-digit telephone number connect with a national network of local crisis centers, which provide free and confidential support 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to "anyone experiencing a suicidal crisis or emotional distress."

In a statement on its website, Intrado — the lifeline's telecommunications provider — said it was "experiencing an incident that is impacting production across numerous systems."

The company also said it was "working diligently to restore service," according to Nexstar Media Group.

© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


Newsfront
The national mental health crisis hotline, 988, incurred a systemwide outage on Thursday, reportedly leading to an hours-long backlog of calls.
988 lifeline, mental, health, outline, hhs, agency, suicide
360
2022-03-01
Thursday, 01 December 2022 09:03 PM
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