MCES has had a crisis hotline from the start. Actually, for a short while in early 1970s, we had two – one for mental health calls and another for calls related to substance use.
Several years ago, we joined the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Network. We respond to calls to 1-800-273-TALK originating from phone numbers with 215, 267, 484, and 610 area codes. We receive an average of 4500 Lifeline calls a year in addition to calls to our Montgomery County Crisis Line.
In July 2020, the FCC established 988 as the new, nationwide, easy-to-remember 3-digit phone number for Americans in crisis to connect with suicide prevention and mental health crisis resources.
In July 2022, 988 will become operational. Currently dialing 988 seamlessly forwards the call to the 1-800-273-TALK system. After July, the-s arrangement will be reversed.
A statewide task force under the auspice of the PA Department of Human Services is planning 988 implementation in Pennsylvania. Julie Peticca, who directs our Crisis Department, is part of the 988 start-up project.