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988 mental health crisis line received nearly 40,000 calls from Oklahomans in first year

Priscilla Du Preez

If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call, text or chat with the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988, or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741.

The 988 Mental Health Lifeline received nearly 40,000 calls from Oklahomans since its launch in July 2022, averaging over 3,000 calls a month.

988 is a direct line that connects callers to trained behavioral health professionals, providing free and confidential support.

According to a press release from the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, nearly 300,000 Oklahomans report having a substance abuse disorder. About 300 Oklahomans are admitted to urgent care or crisis mental health services yearly.

Callers reported self-harm and suicidal thoughts were the top reason for their call to 988 over the past year. The Department wrote 4.1% of Oklahoman adults had serious thoughts of suicide in the past year. One in 10 Oklahoma students attempted suicide in the past 12 months.

Solari Crisis and Human Services is the statewide call center for 988 in Oklahoma. The organization provides a public dashboard with 988 statistics. According to that dashboard, over 4,000 calls have been received by 988 in the past 30 days.

988 has a stabilization rate of 89%, meaning most calls do not require an in-person response after phone support.

Carrie Slatton-Hodges, state Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Commissioner wrote in the release it’s “inspiring” to see many Oklahomans utilizing 988, calling the program more than just a call center.

“We have established the country’s most comprehensive crisis response continuum and can see the substantial impact it is having on Oklahomans reaching out in moments of distress or crisis,” Slatton-Hodges wrote.

Nationally, 988 received more than five million calls, texts and chats in its first year.

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Peggy Dodd was an intern at KOSU during the summer of 2023.
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