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ARLINGTON, VA — The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) today launched a nationwide SMS/text message support option for the NAMI HelpLine, adding a communications medium that is overwhelmingly preferred by young people — a population experiencing an unprecedented mental health crisis.
Help-seekers can now text “HELPLINE” to 62640 between 10 a.m.–10 p.m. ET, Monday–Friday, to connect with the NAMI HelpLine. The free, peer-support service provides information, resource referrals and support to people living with a mental health condition, their family members and caregivers, mental health providers and the public.
“NAMI is dedicated to reaching people who need mental health support where they are, not where we want them to be,” said NAMI CEO Daniel H. Gillison Jr. “For our youth and young adults — who are bearing the brunt of an unprecedented mental health crisis — that place is often on their smartphones.”
The numbers paint a troubling picture of mental health among young people:
The NAMI HelpLine, which extended its service hours twice in 2021, has seen similar trends among the general population: Overall contacts from help-seekers increased 79% from 2019 to 2021 — totaling nearly 67,000 connections. The number of help-seekers who were experiencing a mental health crisis jumped 290%, while the number experiencing suicidal ideation was up 180%.
Other statistics demonstrate the reliance on texting among younger people:
In addition to the new texting option announced today, the NAMI HelpLine continues to be available Monday–Friday, 10 a.m.–10 p.m. ET, by phone at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), via the “Chat with us” web widget, or by email at [email protected].
The new text service is different from the new 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, which offers both voice and text support to those experiencing a mental health or suicide-related crisis. The nationwide rollout of NAMI HelpLine texting feature follows a pilot project in Texas and New York.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness.
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In a crisis? Call or text 988.