Chester County Introduces “988” Mental Health Crisis Hotline

SuicideImage by Kleiton Santos

WEST CHESTER, PA — Saturday, July 16th is an important day for Chester County. That’s the day that our community joins with communities across the nation in introducing “988” as the direct phone connection support for anyone experiencing mental health-related distress. The 988 Mental Health Crisis Hotline provides an immediate response to individuals in crisis, and offers a connection to local resources and services.

The Chester County Department of Human Services is implementing a new 988 call option as a first step towards transforming the County’s crisis care system. The new system will include an online survey for parents/guardians, teachers, counselors, health professionals, and young people to better inform the County’s crisis care system. The surveys will help officials understand how the current system can be improved to better serve the community.

Additionally, the surveys will help identify gaps in services and make recommendations for how to improve the overall mental health crisis response system. Chester County officials say they are committed to making necessary changes to improve the lives of those who suffer from mental illness and hope that by soliciting feedback from those who experience the mental health crisis response system firsthand, they will be able to make meaningful improvements.

According to Pat Bokovitz, Director of the Chester County Department of Human Services, moving to the three-digit 988 phone number gives the opportunity to not only strengthen their existing suicide prevention hotline service, but also expand the crisis care system. This system provides direct and life-saving service for all in need. Moreover, the data from these surveys will be used to ensure that the mental health crisis system can better meet the needs of residents in Chester County.

The surveys are brief, anonymous and available online at www.chesco.org/mhidd.

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