LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — It’s been a month since 988 rolled out, but it’s just one piece of a bigger crisis response.
People can contact the 988 number through text or call during a mental health crisis. While some call centers in other states have been saturated with calls, Nevada has been taking charge of the mental health crisis response.
It’s all about access. While all 988 calls are directed to your local call center, all call centers also have continued to participate in the national lifeline network. This means no call, text, or chat in Nevada will go unanswered.
DJ Uch knew what it was like to struggle with mental health problems. He’s a recovering addict who is now helping others.
“It can feel like an uphill battle, and you can feel like you want to curl into a ball and disappear,” said Uch.
This is why he said 988 is an important number.
“The fact that we have this resource now to reach out to people, to make sure they have what they need in order to thrive and survive is an amazing thing.”
Kendall Holcomb with the Division of Public and Behavioral Health said the division is partnered with “CSS,” Crisis Support Services of Nevada, the only in-state network taking calls.
“Since 988 launched on July 16, Crisis Support Services reported a thirty percent increase for that call volume in just the first 2 weeks and even more since then.”
Holcomb said Nevada is one of the top states for taking charge of the crisis response system.
“They’ve been operating for more than 5 decades. They are so well established in the state and Nevada is actually considered one of the leading states in the country for this 988 rollout.”
She said Nevada is prepared to handle calls due to training and mental health funding.
“Part of preparing for 988 with CSS received additional funding to help with their staffing, increase training and the benefit of CSS is that they have staff themselves who are spread out across the state because a lot of them utilize teleservices,” said Holcomb.
Nevada suicide rate has remained relatively low compared to other states in part to our mental health response, which includes the 988 rollout.
In 2021, the Crisis Support Services of Nevada was contacted 87,220 times. Of those 35,741 were from the state of Nevada, and 5,296 were by text message by mostly youth under 18 years of age.
When you dial 988, it will route you to your nearest crisis network based on your area code. In Nevada, it would be the Crisis Support Network (CSS) in northern Nevada and they handle all calls for the entire state.