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    California Governor Gavin Newsom launches 988 emergency line, a mental health crisis hotline

    Shutterstock Sheila Fitzgerald

    California Governor Gavin Newsom recently announced the launch of the 988-emergency line, a mental health crisis hotline that will connect callers to trained counselors. The new hotline is set to replace the existing 1-800-273-TALK (8255) hotline, which is currently used for both suicide prevention and mental health crisis counseling.

    The 988-emergency line is part of a larger effort to address the mental health crisis in California, which has only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the California Health Care Foundation, approximately 1 in 6 adults in California experiences a mental health disorder in any given year, and the suicide rate in the state has increased by 33% since 2008.

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    The new hotline will be staffed by trained counselors who can provide immediate support and referrals to those in need. The counselors will be trained to handle a range of mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and suicidal thoughts.

    Governor Newsom has emphasized the importance of mental health care, particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. “This pandemic has taken a toll on all of us, but it has hit our most vulnerable communities the hardest,” he said in a statement. “With the launch of 988, we are taking a critical step forward in our efforts to support mental health and wellness for all Californians.”

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    The launch of the 988-emergency line has been widely praised by mental health advocates and organizations. However, some have raised concerns about the availability of resources to support the new hotline. In particular, there are concerns about the ability to provide timely and effective care for those who need it.

    Despite these concerns, the launch of the 988-emergency line represents an important step forward in addressing the mental health crisis in California. The new hotline will provide a critical resource for those who are in crisis and need immediate support. Governor Newsom is prioritizing mental health care and investing in resources like the 988-emergency line, California can help ensure that all of its residents have access to the care they need to lead healthy and fulfilling lives.

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