New suicide hotline getting more than 4,000 calls a month in Arizona

988 suicide & crisis hotline sees a rise in calls
Published: Jan. 24, 2023 at 7:01 AM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Six months into its debut, the 988 suicide hotline is getting more calls than the old 10-digit number for a whole year.

In 2021, which was the last full year when the 10-digit number was in use there were over 2 million calls. Since the 988 number debuted less than 6 months ago, there’s already been more than 2 million calls, texts and chats.

Over 4,000 calls every single month are made in Arizona, and that number is rising.

Each state is responsible for operating its suicide hotline, and in Arizona Tempe-based Solari Crisis and Human Services handles the calls.

“Being able to have an easy-to-remember number is critical and it should have the same importance in the community and attention in the community as 911,” Solari President and CEO Justin Chase said.

Mohave, Pima, Maricopa and Yuma counties have the most calls.

While 85 percent of calls are resolved over the phone, if someone needs more help then they could be directed to local resource centers like NAMI Southern Arizona in Tucson.

“We’re happy that people are finding us, we’re as a lot of people say the best kept secret for being here for 40 years. People don’t look for us until they need us,” executive director for NAMI Southern Arizona Christina Bickelmann said.

There is also a national backup center that will answer that call if all the operators in Arizona are on calls.