SANTA CLARA, Calif. (KRON) – Earlier this summer, the new 988 number launched nationally to give people who are suicidal or dealing with mental health issues an option for getting help. Earlier today, KRON4 News visited a center in the South Bay.
The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline has been up and running nationally for several weeks and today we got a look inside Santa Clara County’s center. The county also talked about how they won’t only answer the phone but also want to send resources into the community to help.
Inside this office building in San Jose, Santa Clara county has set up a 988 call center with 10 staff members and 75 trained volunteers. The goal is to answer all calls for help within six rings or 30 seconds and then determine what kind of help the caller needs. Be that suicide prevention help or dealing with mental health issues.
Previously, there were different phone numbers for different county services but now all calls go to one place. Santa Clara County Behavioral Health Services employee Bruce Copley said in a press statement, “988 will then determine if it is a crisis or do they need some kind of immediate response from one of our crisis teams. That could be our adult team, our youth team, or the new trust team that will start in the fall. All of those will be mobile individuals that work in the community.”
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Santa Clara County Supervisor Sot Cindy Chavez said in a public statement, “our ultimate goal is that we send the right response to the right call. if it’s a mental health call we want to be able to send a clinician. if it’s a public safety call, it’s going to go back to public safety. If it’s a family in crisis, we are going to be able to get them counseling. This is an opportunity to learn quickly how to right size our services.”
Anyone who needs help can also text 988 and the county does offer bilingual services. If a local center like this one is too busy to answer a call quickly, that call will be sent to one of 16 backup centers around the country.