Beginning July 16, 2022, 988 Lifeline became the country’s first three-digit mental health crisis hotline. The new number will connect callers to confidential, free and available services for those experiencing a mental health, suicidal or substance abuse crisis. Goodwill of the Finger Lakes—specifically its Contact Center team—is part of the 988 Hotline program to answer crisis calls and joins agencies across the country to aid those in need.
“988 is a new program that will radically change how we as a community approach mental health crisis support,” President and CEO Jennifer Lake said. “I am beyond honored that Goodwill of the Finger Lakes was chosen to be part of this impactful service that will change lives for the better in communities across our region and country.”
Through 988, callers will have access to trained mental health counselors, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 988 builds on the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by increasing the accessibility and use of lifesaving intervention and resources. As part of the federal government’s commitment to addressing the mental health crisis felt by many across the country, which was further stressed by the impact of COVID-19, unprecedented federal resources have been invested to set up centers in support of 988. The Lifeline network is made up of over 200 local, independent crisis centers trained and equipped to help individuals in need via call, text or chat support.
“988 is a support service desperately needed by many,” 211/LIFE LINE Program Director Deborah Turner said. “This new hotline will allow us to provide immediate assistance to those who are facing mental health crises. It’s more than just three numbers; it’s normalizing the way we look at and address mental health support and wellness.”
The local 988 Lifeline team will be housed in Goodwill’s Contact Center, which also houses the region’s 211/LIFE LINE services. The renovated 7,000-square-foot-facility allows Goodwill to enhance its social enterprise and health and human services operations. Since 1998, the Center has provided tailored customer service to meet the community’s diverse needs, and has received recognition for their excellence in operations, technology, training, contract procurement, corporate and community partnerships. Most importantly, the Center offers rewarding career opportunities for blind or visually impaired people, eliminating barriers to equitable job opportunities.
“This is a great moment for the Contact Center,” Senior Vice President of Operations and Services Joyel Bennett said. “Through our renovated Center we are able to meet and address the needs of community stakeholders while enhancing our partnerships at the local, state and national levels. The 988 Lifeline partnership is proof of our longstanding capacity and compassion to improve the well-being of all.”
For information on 988, visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). For more information about Goodwill’s programs and services, job opportunities and ways to donate, visit here.