In 2020, Congress the Federal Communications Commission made 988 the universal three-digit dialing code for mental health crisis in the United States. It is an expansion of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s work and an effort to ease 911 and law enforcement’s involvement in mental health-related calls that they might not be fully educated and equipped in dealing with. While still not implemented, this session provides an overview of how the system is expected to work and the developments on this initiative.
This session’s speakers are Shannon Scully and John Snook. Shannon is the Senior Manager of Criminal Justice Policy at the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI). She serves as a subject matter expert on criminal justice/mental health policy, oversees research and policies in the intersection of the justice system and mental health. Meanwhile, John Snook is currently the Senior Vice President of National Policy Innovation for the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute. He previously led federal government relations representing the interests of provider systems that treat individuals with mental health and substance use disorders.
Specifics of their discussion include:
- An introduction to 988 – how it was mandated, its objective, scope, and target population.
- How the lack of appropriate resources is…
- Burdening law enforcement with metal health crisis calls when they aren’t the most qualified profession to be managing these.
- Endangering the communities and often leads to negative outcomes particularly those with mental health issues.
- Costing the country billions of dollars to respond and transport individuals with mental illness.
- Contributing to the number of people dying by suicide without accessing any form of support services.
- Filling up ERs and jails with individuals that had to be put on hold.
- Where the 988 program can be found in the sequential intercept model.
- The need for an effective 911-988 coordination in case calls escalate or de-escalate.
- A glimpse into the operations of the 988 system, its funding sources, and the call routing system of the network that ensures someone can always take the calls and provide support.
- Efforts underway to fill the shortage of response resources based on the Pillars of an Ideal Crisis Response System in preparation for 988 going live by July 2022.
- Having well-trained and experienced call-takers to provide support on a range of mental health and substance abuse issues, refer to resources when needed, and do follow-ups.
- Ensuring the availability of sufficient responders through well-coordinated mobile crisis teams.
- Creating stabilization programs and facilities connected to hospitals and behavioral health clinics that can provide the actual resources needed and effective solutions, and divert mental health crisis cases away from jails and ERs.
- The developments in the 988 efforts thus far.
- The states that committed to and started building the resources and structures to support the program.
- Conversations happening in other states related to 988 and how to help support the effort towards successful implementation.
- Areas that still require action on the federal and state level particularly with funding.
- What criminal justice professionals have to do to ensure the success of the 988 program.
Questions from the audience were about:
- Funding sources at the federal and state level related to 988.
- FCC’s work to ensure that 988 calls are routed based on geolocation.
- Information sharing between 911 and 988 and how transfers will be handled.
- How 988 and existing multi-disciplinary teams can coordinate and work together.
- Addressing the issue of ER and acute beds used for mental health crisis.
- Easily implementable steps for agencies to support the 988 efforts.
Resources Mentioned During Webinar
- State Legislative Landscape Map (PDF)
- Taking the Call Conference Registration
- 988 Resources
- FULL Presentation Slide Deck
Other Webinars with this Presenter:
- Oct 13: 988 and the Future of Crisis Response: What Criminal Justice Professionals Need to Know (Part 1) (this webinar)
- Feb 10: 988 and the Future of Crisis Response: What Criminal Justice Professionals Need to Know (Part 2)
- “Everything in this training was valuable and am I looking forward to part 2. I will absolutely share this information with my colleagues as they were unaware of the 988 crisis line. Thank you!!” — Kamaile
- “I appreciated knowing more about the 988 concept and its role out process. I also found the national resources helpful.” — ky
- “A better understanding of the topic and available resources.” — Hector
- “I thought it was all excellent and very informative. I received a better understanding of 988 and how it is working. Thank you.” — Jenny
- “I didn’t even know about the 988 system so that was very informative.” — Lauren