Connecticut suicide help calls up 50% since new 988 hotline launched

We all know about 911, but now there's a new number to remember – 988, the new suicide hotline. On Wednesday, state leaders said calls for help are up dramatically since it launched over the summer.
"Once the new line became active on July 16 of this year, calls to our state crisis contact team have been up 50%," said Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz.
The 988-line launched nationwide on that date. In Connecticut, the United Way staffs it with licensed mental health professionals 24 hours a day.
"They care and they connect, and they don't rush," said Steve MacHattie, with Charter Oak Family Center.
Mental health leaders praised the 988 rollout. They said Connecticut is actually ranked third in the nation for answering calls quickly, usually within a few seconds.
The 988 hotline now appears on all student ID cards. Mobile crisis teams are expanding into schools too.
Connecticut recently passed three new mental health laws. Starting next year, most insurance plans will cover two evaluations a year – with no pre-authorization or co-pay required. And for low-income parents, the state will cover treatment that insurance doesn't.
"This previous legislative session resulted in landmark supporting funding and supports for our children and our families across the state," said JoShonda Guerrier, with the Connecticut Department of Children and Families.