Mississippi Department of Mental Health Receives National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Grant

February 8, 2021 (Jackson, Miss.) – The Mississippi Department of Mental Health (DMH) today announces it is receiving $125,000 in funding toward planning for the implementation of a new national three-digit dialing code, 988, for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

The grant funds will be used to help Mississippi Lifeline call centers prepare for infrastructure needs, volume growth, training and educating staff, data collection, as well as access to the Lifeline’s new 988 number. The funding comes from Vibrant Emotional Health, the nonprofit administrator of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and the 988 State Planning Grant.

In July 2022, 988 will become the national three-digit dialing code for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, replacing the current phone number of 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Federal legislation authorizing 988 as the three-digit code for the Lifeline was passed in October 2020.

DMH encourages Mississippians in crisis and concerned family members to continue to call the Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) until the 988 number becomes effective.

Alongside CONTACT the Crisis Line in Jackson and CONTACT Helpline in Columbus, DMH will develop clear roadmaps to address coordination, capacity, funding, and communications surrounding the launch of 988. The state’s public mental health system will also collaborate with state leadership, suicide prevention experts, people with lived experience, and others to create a 988 implementation plan and support the Lifeline’s operational, clinical, and performance standards that allow access to care.

DMH will establish a Planning Coalition to include suicide attempt and loss survivors as well as key players from DMH, CONTACT the Crisis Line, representatives from the state’s Community Mental Health Center Mobile Crisis Response Teams, Peer Support Services and Crisis Stabilization Units, as well as the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

Vibrant believes the new 988 number, once implemented, will ensure the Lifeline will continue to be America’s mental health safety net by providing emotional support for people in distress, reducing suicides and mental health crises, and providing a pathway to well-being for all.

“Access to mental health and crisis support has never been more critical for Americans,” said Kimberly Williams, President and CEO of Vibrant Emotional Health.  “Vibrant is committed to providing the states and territories with some of the resources they’ll need to plan for the implementation of 988 and to support their local crisis centers. By working together, we will increase access to care, reduce the stigma around mental health and, ultimately, save lives.”

About Mississippi Department of Mental Health

The Mississippi Department of Mental Health (DMH) is supporting a better tomorrow by making a difference in the lives of Mississippians with mental illness, substance use disorders and intellectual or developmental disabilities one person at a time. To learn more about suicide prevention and crisis centers, visit DMH’s Shatter the Silence website at www.dmh.ms.gov/shatter-the-silence. Visit dmh.ms.gov for more information on the Mississippi Department of Mental Health and information on accessing mental health services in Mississippi.

About the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Funded by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and administered by Vibrant Emotional Health, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a leader in suicide prevention and mental health crisis care. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides free and confidential emotional support and crisis counseling to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, across the United States. The Lifeline is comprised of a national network of over 180 local crisis centers, uniting local resources with national best practices. Since its inception in 2005, the Lifeline has engaged in innovative public messaging, development of best practices in mental health, creative partnerships, and more to improve crisis services and advance suicide prevention for all. suicidepreventionlifeline.org

About Vibrant Emotional Health

Vibrant Emotional Health is a non-profit organization that helps individuals and families achieve emotional wellbeing. For over 50 years, our groundbreaking solutions have delivered high-quality services and support, when, where and how people need it. We offer confidential emotional support through our state-of-the-art contact center and crisis hotline services that use leading edge telephone, text and web-based technologies and include the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, NFL Life Line and NYC Well. Through our community wellness programs individuals and families obtain supports and skills they need to thrive. Our advocacy and education initiatives promote mental wellbeing as a social responsibility. Each year we help more than 2.5 million people live healthier and more vibrant lives. We are advancing access, dignity and respect for all and revolutionizing the system for good. Visit vibrant.org. And follow Vibrant on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.


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