HEALTHmattersMD Newsletter

24/7 Help for People in Mental Health Crisis: Dial 988

A federal initiative launched last year makes it easier for people to get immediate mental health support anytime from anywhere by simply dialing 988. People can dial this three-digit code as a more accessible alternative to the 10-digit National Suicide Prevention Lifeline phone number. Lifeline counselors then seamlessly triage callers to their local community crisis call center. 

Most callers from San Mateo County’s 650 area code are transferred to StarVista Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention Center. In addition to a 24/7 crisis hotline, this San Carlos-based resource provides San Mateo County with a mobile youth crisis response team, staff-supervised peer-to-peer teen crisis support (online chat and text), and mental health presentations at schools and in the community.   

The 988 hotline is a resource available to anyone in the U.S. at no cost. However, it is important for providers to know that HealthWorx HMO members who call the 988 hotline can only be charged copays for in-network services. They cannot be charged for any services rendered by out-of-network 988 centers, mobile crisis teams or other providers of behavioral health crisis services.