David Y.Ige | DOH Press Release: Launch of 988 will expand access to mental health and addictions crisis services

DOH Press Release: Launch of 988 will expand access to mental health and addictions crisis services

Published on Jul 14, 2022 in Latest news from the department, Press room

HONOLULU — On Saturday, July 16, Hawaiʻi will adopt the 988 national dialing code for direct access to mental health and addictions crisis resources. The new three-digit number is expected to increase access to the Hawaii Department of Health’s (DOH) CARES emergency hotline for emergency services, mental and emotional health support and recovery drug addiction.

People with a phone number with the 808 area code can call 988 to connect to the Hawaii CARES Crisis Line. Callers from other area codes will be connected to a crisis center in another state. Anyone can continue to reach Hawaiʻi CARES by calling 808-832-3100 or 1-800-753-6879; or by using the chat function at suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat/.

“The launch of 988 reflects a national commitment to prioritizing mental health and increasing access to resources,” said Marian Tsuji, assistant director of behavioral health. “In Hawaiʻi, 988 adds to the means by which people can reach the CARES Crisis Line. Our staff will continue to connect people across Hawaiʻi with mental health and addiction recovery resources.

In 2021, Hawaii CARES received 101,151 calls. Hawaiʻi CARES is administered by the DOH with support from CARE Hawaiʻi and Aloha United Way.

Hawaii CARES provides free, confidential 24/7 support to people in distress related to mental health or addiction. Locally trained and qualified clinical and crisis call center staff provide supportive counselling, screening for urgent or emerging mental health or substance use needs, and referrals to behavioral health resources. DOH’s wraparound services connect CARES callers and others with mobile crisis outreach and other services.

Hawaiʻi CARES is part of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a network of more than 200 independent crisis centers equipped to help people in mental health-related distress or in suicidal crisis. In 2020, Congress designated dialing code 988 to operate through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to improve access to mental health crisis services in a way that meets growing national needs.

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Media Contact:

Katie Arita Chang

Communications Office

E-mail: [email protected]

Phone: (808) 286-4806

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