Frederick County Mental Health Association Says New 988 Suicide Prevention Line Number Working Well

The MHA says the number is easier to remember.

Frederick, Md. (KM) – Since last Saturday, a new number went into operation   across the United State for the  National Suicide  Prevention Lifeline. Persons who need help can call 988, and not the old ten-digit number of 1-800-273-8255.

Those dialing 988 in Frederick County, or Washington, Allegany or Garrett Counties will have their calls routed to the call center at the Frederick County Mental Health Association on South Jefferson Street in Frederick.

Suzi Borg, the Director of Critical Services for the Mental Health Association, says the new number has been working well. But it may takes some time before we know if calls have been increasing since the number was changed to 988. :”We’re still tracking that. Time will tell, I think,” says Borg. “We have seen over the past several months a little bit of an increase in calls on that line; and over the past  couple of days, a little bit of an increase. So we’re waiting to see kind of  what happens with that.”

Borg says the center receives a lot of calls, and not just from those contemplating suicide. She provides some examples. .. “I’m having difficulty getting connected to services such counseling. Maybe I need some help paying my rent. It could be something that to  ‘I’m thinking  about taking my life, and I really need to talk to somebody about this,'” she says.

In the case  of those centupling suicide, Borg says it’s not so much a call taker trying to talk a person out of taking their own  life.  . She says for those who are considering taking their lives,  those individuals   often want to talk it out with counselors.  . “They just know that what they’re thinking about is scaring them. And when you get to that point to think about taking your life, that’s a very scary thing,” says Borg. “And so reaching out for help is incredibly brave; and  recognizing ‘I can’t do this on my own, who can help me.’ It’s just the bravest thing to do.”

She says these call takers have a “database full of resources,” to help callers who are considering suicide, or have  other emotional problems. The National Suicide   Prevention Line is open 24-hours a day seven  day s a week, 365 or 366 days per year.

Borg also says the Mental Health Association is always in need of more volunteers. “We always are looking for people who are wiling to do this. It’s a challenging job. and we have just the best people doing it,” she says.

Anyone who is interested in being a call taker with the Mental Health Association can go on line to, and click on  training and volunteer coordinator.

By Kevin McManus