Only 1% of Americans are very familiar with the new mental health crisis number

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After July 2022, Americans will be able to dial 988 and reach a suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline. However, 80 percent of people do not know about it, according to a new poll done by Ipsos on behalf of the National Association of Mental Illness Nov. 15.

Conceived as an alternative to 911, the 988 number will serve those dealing with a mental health crisis. It will also lessen police response to these crises, which can sometimes prove fatal, as 1 in 4 civilians killed by police between 2015 and 2020 had a mental illness, according to The Washington Post

The Federal Communications Commission announced Nov. 18 that the line will support both calls and texts and is set to go live in July 2022.

With the deadline fast approaching, NAMI surveyed over 2,000 Americans in October to understand their perceptions of mental health and the hotline. 

Here are the key takeaways:

  • Ninety percent of respondents supported a creation of a 24/7 mental health, alcohol and drugs crisis call center.
  • A majority (54 percent) of Americans say there is significant room for improvement in addressing mental health and suicide crises, compared to 26 percent thinking that other emergency services need the same level of change.
  • However, 80 percent of respondents hadn't heard of the new 988 line, and only 1 percent reported being very familiar with it.

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