More New Mexicans seeking help by phone, text and chat
SANTA FE — Today, the 988 24/7 lifeline for emotional, mental or substance misuse support crisis line celebrates its first anniversary in New Mexico. 988 offers free 365/24/7 call, text and chat access to trained crisis counselors who can help people experiencing suicidal, substance use, and/or mental health crisis, or any other kind of emotional distress. People can also contact 988 if they are worried about a loved one who may need crisis support.
Spanish text and chat services are now available, and 988 also uses Language Line Solutions to provide translation services in more than 240 additional languages. Later this year, 988 plans to add video phone service to better serve deaf and hard of hearing individuals.
Most recent data suggests that since its launch on July 16, 2022, the 988 crisis line has answered 21,702 total connections (calls, texts and chats) through May 31, 2023. The rollout of 988 in New Mexico may have saved the lives of more than 4,732 New Mexicans who experienced suicidal ideation.
“We understand people don’t always self-identify being in a crisis, but they often sense when they need help,” said Kari Armijo, acting cabinet secretary for the Human Services Department. “We don’t want anyone to ask themselves is this serious. If you or someone you know are having a bad day, call, text or chat 988 and talk about it. 988 is available to help you.”
New Mexico continues to perform highly with an average answer rate of 81 percent and has had a significant reduction in answer response times, plunging from 1:01 minutes to 26 seconds. Nationally, the average speed of answer is 37 seconds. Eighty-eight percent of calls, texts and chats were effectively assisted in the first contact by local trained behavioral health professionals who can provide community mental health and substance use resources.
Since the launch by HSD of a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual + (LGBTQIA+) pilot hotline in January 2023, 587 transgender, non-binary and other New Mexicans have connected with a trained mental health peer. New Mexico LGBTQIA+ youth are more than four times as likely to attempt suicide or engage in self-harm and experience depression and substance use.
If you or someone you know is concerned is concerned about safety, having a hard time, feeling hopeless, confused, angry, or lonely, worried about alcohol or drug use (substance use), in need of information or referrals for local community services, or you have something on your mind that you want to discuss with someone outside of current situation, please call, text, or chat with 988. Help is confidential, free and available 365/24/7.
For more information, visit www.988nm.org.
We talk, interpret and smile in all languages. We provide written information to our customers in both English and Spanish and interpretation services are available in 58 languages through our provider, CTS Language Link. For our hearing, and speech impaired customers, we utilize Relay New Mexico, a free 24-hour service that ensures equal communication access via the telephone to individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind or speech disabled.
The Human Services Department provides services and benefits to 1,070,126 New Mexicans through several programs including: the Medicaid Program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Child Support Program, and several Behavioral Health Services.