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March 22, 2023

New Public Awareness Campaign Promotes 988 Suicide and Mental Health Crisis Line

The 988 suicide and crisis lifeline provides free services 24/7 via phone call, texts, or online chat to anyone in need

The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) and the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) are partnering on a new public awareness campaign called “Hope Always Answers” that promotes the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.

People can reach the 988 suicide and crisis lifeline by dialing 988 from any phone, texting 988 from a mobile phone, chatting 988 or going to 988.az.gov. The crisis line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to anyone experiencing suicide crisis, substance-related issues, social isolation, depression, relationship struggles, or any type of mental or behavioral health issues. Friends and family members can also use 988 on behalf of someone experiencing any type of mental or behavioral health crisis.

Sheila Sjolander, interim deputy director of Public Health Services at ADHS, said the new crisis line is a critical tool in helping to reduce the number of suicides in our state. In 2022, according to preliminary data from ADHS, 1,593 individuals in Arizona died by suicide, the highest number ever recorded in Arizona’s history.

“Tragically, this is a trend that has been on the rise for several years in Arizona, and the new crisis line is one tool we have to help people get access to the services that they need,” Sjolander said. “When people call or text 988, they will be connected to an Arizona-based behavioral health expert who can provide counseling and connect the caller with any needed services. This crisis line is not just for people in crisis, but also for anyone who knows someone who may be in crisis.”

“988 is one of many resources in Arizona to help anyone experiencing a behavioral health issue,” said CJ Loiselle, deputy director of the Division of Grants and Innovation at AHCCCS. “But what's most important is that you make the call. The majority of issues are addressed over the phone, but other tools like mobile crisis teams are available when needed.”

Assets for the new public awareness campaign are available at no cost from ADHS for use by local county health departments and community partners. All assets are in English and Spanish. The assets will soon be uploaded to the ADHS asset library, however anyone in need of PSA assets immediately can contact Chris Minnick, ADHS marketing director, at chris.minnick@azdhs.gov.

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