Suicide hotline's text upgrade could strain system
Posted on Nov 18 2021
A federal move to promote texting the national suicide hotline for help could strain crisis center capacity. Texting can make reaching help more accessible for vulnerable communities, including young people and members of the LGBTQ community, but many insist the system will need more resources. "We don't want somebody to text and not get a response," said Hannah Wesolowski, interim national director of government relations, policy and advocacy for NAMI. "That is something that will really need to be scaled up." "[W]e know people are going to start texting as soon as they learn about 988. So it's important that we start offering it, and work simultaneously to make sure that that capacity need is addressed." A recent NAMI/Ipsos poll found that 4 in 5 Americans believe mental health professionals should be the primary first responders in a mental health crisis, rather than law enforcement. "Unfortunately, very few communities have robust crisis services in place and that leads to law enforcement often being the only in-person response available," Wesolowski told Axios. "And this causes a lot of avoidable trauma and tragedy."