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Friday / September 29.

It was 1957 when thirteen-year-old Terry Russell got off the school bus and saw a police van outside his home. “The police were there to take my brother to the state hospital,” says Russell. His brother, who had schizophrenia, would go to the state hospital for five to six months and then return home. “He’d do well for about the same amount of time before the cycle started all over again.”  The day the police arrived to pick up his brother, Russell entered the house to find his mother crying in her bedroom. “I’ll never forget what she asked me. ‘What are the people at church and the neighbors going to think?’ She didn’t say anything about my brother.” Their dad worked

Kristine FireThunder has developed youth leadership programs where guest speakers who’ve grown up on a reservation share their stories, expressing how they overcame challenges faced by today’s youth. She says what’s essential is that children and teens hear from people who experienced the same history and forms of trauma and went on to have fulfilling lives.

Suicide prevention advocate Kevin Berthia shares that as mental health stigma lessens, more people are reaching out, but the field isn’t yet where it needs to be to meet demand. “

Dr. Dennis Morrison says 988 and Covid-19 helped spark interest in and support of technological innovation in the behavioral health field. He shares some of the latest innovations while cautioning that tech is designed to augment, not replace, care.

Daniel, a military veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder, struggled even before the pandemic. However, when Covid hit, his supports dissipated, and he felt a constant heightened fear of what was to come.

Psychiatrist says psychiatric hospitals cherry-pick patients, taking those who are less expensive and less complicated for them to treat.

Dr. Larry Davidson helped broaden the concept of psychiatric rehabilitation. He believes communities can learn from the peer movement to help support people as they transition to post-pandemic living.

Dr. Billina Shaw on best practices and guidance for designing and implementing services that meet the needs of youth and their families.

Seth Kahan shares his own family’s experience with mental health stigma and how the mental health and substance use disorder anti-stigma grand challenge is personal.

Tom Betlach shares how collaboration between Medicaid and offices of behavioral health can bring about system change.

Dr. Sosunmolu Shoyinka shares that one of the most troublesome forms of mental health stigma in the U.S. is the persistent disparity in health care funding. He says a prospective funding model can help counter it.

Michael F. Hogan and David W. Covington, co-founders of Crisis Now, discuss the lack of adequate behavioral health emergency services for life-threatening mental health, addiction, and suicidal crises. They discuss Arizona as the base camp for psychiatric emergency care but highlight there is much to be done to reach the summit. The authors also dive into 988 and other landmark happenings in crisis care, and what must transpire for further innovation and widespread implementation to bring it into the mainstream.

Canopy Roots — a majority Black and woman-owned mental health practice in Minnesota — operates the inaugural behavioral crisis response program in Minneapolis.

Sue Murray, head of the Zero Suicide Institute of Australasia, asks mental health experts, “Who is caring for health care workers?”

Suicidologist Dr. DeQuincy Meiffren-Lézine says he wishes he could convey to his younger self, and to young people today, to be open to possibility.

SMI Adviser is an innovative grant — it has the ability to adapt, allowing it to respond to data and current events.

Colleagues told psychiatrist René Keet to keep his experience with mental health challenges to himself. He shares how he pushed to create openness in the field.

Silouan Green says that for someone in the military or a first responder, the loss of identity can contribute to a person’s deterioration.

Paolo del Vecchio, director of SAMHSA’s newly established Office of Recovery, says 988 is an opportunity to go beyond a three-digit number and transform the crisis care system meaningfully, “so people receive the care they need.”

Heath Hayes, Chief Communications Officer at the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, shares the state’s innovative 988 marketing strategy.

Veronica is an award-winning peer recovery coach, helping people navigate the challenges she faced. When asked what or who she credits for her recovery, Veronica doesn’t hesitate to say ongoing MAT and caring recovery coaches, but, she lowers her voice, her colleagues don’t know.

Ron Bruno, a retired Utah police officer and CEO of Crisis Response Programs and Training, says mental health shouldn't come in a police car.

Australia establishes one of the world’s first dedicated National Suicide Prevention Offices. Led by Dr. Michael Gardner, the office places greater emphasis on social determinants of health as a preventive strategy.

How Massachusetts’ Statewide Pediatric and Perinatal Psychiatry Access Lines for Primary Care Doctors Help Fill Frontline Gaps in Behavioral Health.

Veteran NFL player Doug Middleton lost his best friend to suicide. He launched Dream the Impossible to destigmatize mental health and halt and reverse the suicide rate among Black youth and athletes.

A good national marketing strategy permeates public consciousness. “We need that in mental health,” says Meena Dayak. She shares the data-driven marketing strategies that can help maximize 988.

Eating disorders among teens are on the rise. Sixteen-year-old Ingrid Parker shares her story of navigating Vancouver’s crisis system and how she was left out of her own care.

Vic Armstrong launches Strong Talk, a podcast focused on diversity, equity, and mental health and substance use healthcare access.

Writers Christy Malik and Nili Ezekiel dive into 988 Lifeline’s follow-up services and how it’s critical to the crisis care continuum.

Dr. Jessica Wolf on overcoming behavioral health workforce challenges, grasstops and grassroots, and inclusion of peers at the top.

Scaffolding a parallel and interconnected 988 crisis system allows people in a behavioral health crisis to get the level of care they need when they need it. However, a barrier to sustainable funding for 988 crisis systems, says Arlene Stephenson, is “insurers aren’t paying their fair share.”

At 13, Hayley Winterberg developed a nationwide support program for kids experiencing mental health and substance use issues. She shares why 988 should include youth-led supports.

How training peer support specialists to administer the Safety Planning Intervention can fill a critical gap in suicide prevention and save lives.

In May, the Trevor Project released its 2022 national survey on LGBTQ youth mental health and found that nearly 20% of transgender and nonbinary young people who participated in the survey attempted suicide in the past year.

Sarah Corcoran, vice president of government relations at Guide Consulting Services, shares that Covid was the tipping point in mental health and substance use legislation. “Today, there’s still a steep climb, but the incline is getting better.”

A mom shares how crisis services helped her son’s recovery, and family peer support helped her learn how best to provide him support.

Writers Christy Malik and Nili Ezekiel chat with staff at the Missouri Department of Mental Health’s Division of Behavioral Health on how the Vibrant Emotional Health 988 planning grant helped them prepare for 988.

The Sanctuary in England gives people in emotional or mental health crisis a home-like place to call and go.

The excuse for not sufficiently investing in kids is that they’re more resilient. Dr. Jeff Bostic says their brain plasticity makes the early years the ideal time to help.

New peer-powered scale organizational self-assessment helped behavioral health organization align its crisis care principles and practices.

Shana Palmieri on developing a platform for hospitals, behavioral health facilities, and mobile crisis and co-responder teams to rapidly match people with the level of care they need.

How Connecticut developed robust child-centered, family-centered statewide youth mobile crisis services.

Collaboration between 911 and 988 is vital, but throughout the nation, many leaders at 911 call centers don’t know about the three-digit number for mental health, substance use, and suicide crises.

Behavioral health aides help provide a community-based resource for people in rural and remote Alaska.

Many schools have a police presence but are without in-school mental health services. Youth mobile response can fill in the gaps.

“Working together, we can build a mental health and suicide prevention system that is genuinely joined up, properly resourced and provides for all Australians the most simple but powerful comfort: that they matter” -The Hon Scott Morrison MP, Prime Minister of Australia on releasing the National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan in 2021 Last year saw the largest investment in mental health and suicide prevention by a national government in Australia’s history—AU$2.3 billion. This was a sweet victory for those who have long been advocating for service reform.  The plan includes cooperative agreements between state and federal governments, lived experience leadership and a commitment to equal participation, digital developments, strengthening workforce capacity and capability, joined-up systems of compassionate care and support,

Employment barriers present challenges for people in recovery and for expanding the behavioral health peer workforce.

Robust partnerships between behavioral health and Medicaid allow them to focus on a common goal: helping people get the care they need.

Interactive calculator helps communities determine in-person mental health capacity needs and how system costs shift if they incorporate crisis care elements.

Under LA County’s new 911 call assessment matrix and amended call procedures, most behavioral health calls will divert to Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services.

Behavioral health crises among IDD populations only represent a small fraction of overall psychiatric and substance use emergencies, but they’re often high impact.

Only a handful of states can address the deaf community. Most depend on ad hoc arrangements.

Crisis care for children tends to only focus on the child. Yet a child’s crisis can’t be addressed without addressing family dynamics.

Tonja Myles has been in substance use recovery for over three decades, giving her a unique lens to provide Louisiana legislators feedback on impending bills and existing policy.

A newly released paper tackles billing codes, giving recommendations for coding options for crisis lines, mobile crisis services, and crisis stabilization facilities.

Milwaukee County has built out a robust crisis continuum and scaffolded a critical 211-988 relationship to ensure people’s quality-of-life and behavioral health needs are met.

With 988 on the horizon, who will respond to the call when a homeless person is in crisis? The answer, says Kevin Martone, lies in the integration of care within and between systems.

With 988 going “live” in less than 6 months, the need for Lifeline crisis call center oversight will be greater than ever. Dr. Madelyn Gould says an automated feedback loop could help.

Communities must build out all of the National Guidelines for Behavioral Health Crisis Care core elements to ensure 988 creates system-wide change.

Harris County launched the first crisis call diversion program in the United States. Five years later, Jennifer Battle tells us how they did it and what’s next.

As communities move toward resident-centered crisis response teams, they need to do so equitably and responsibly.

The LOCUS service tool algorithm can create a common language between providers and insurers, perhaps even pushing the U.S. toward a national standard.

Without clinical training, an interpreter can turn a therapeutic session into a game of telephone, resulting in a large margin of error.

Gregg Graham developed Behavioral Health Link so people in crisis have a system of connection they can reach 24 hours a day, at no cost.

Intensive Home Treatment in the Netherlands reduces coercive hospital admissions and has health system and economic benefits.

School districts across the nation planned to leave remote learning behind, but in Covid-stricken communities, some began the new school year virtually. Dr. Sharon Hoover shares the challenges children have faced over the past 18 months and the innovations schools have put forth to help them, whether they’re in person or virtual.

Good intentions alone won’t solve systemic issues. John Franklin Sierra, a health systems engineer, gives the play-by-play on how LA County redesigned and reengineered its crisis system.

“Here’s a window of opportunity where the person is present, and if we don’t take advantage of the moment, we may miss it,” says Rebecca Boss. “The person might never show up again.”

Whether they wanted it or not, the Covid pandemic and corresponding physical distancing requirements thrust behavioral healthcare providers into telehealth. Some providers celebrated the sudden regulatory and policy changes that removed service delivery barriers. Others, says Kristin Neylon, senior project associate at NRI, were far more skeptical. “They were wary of telehealth and had privacy concerns,” she said. However, because of the circumstances, providers didn’t have much choice but to adopt the technology. “Many providers who’d been unsure soon discovered they liked telehealth, and the health IT allowed them to reach people they once couldn’t.”  The Covid disaster has sparked—and expanded—the use of innovative health technologies in behavioral healthcare that states can incorporate and maximize as they build out their crisis

Oxford Health NHS Trust Foundation set up a dedicated mental health helpline to respond to people experiencing mental distress from the Covid pandemic and corresponding restrictions. They moved the service to NHS 111, helping provide parity for those seeking mental health services.

Peers are often thrown into roles more like behavioral health technicians due to a fundamental, nationwide misunderstanding of what peers do and the function they serve.

Vicki Lowe gives updates on Washington State’s 988 tribal crisis line and health hub, a coordinating communication center that assists tribes and providers and acts as a bridge between tribal and statewide behavioral health and crisis systems.

States can learn from ‘60s-’70s EMT model to create a new mobile crisis team role that improves racial and ethnic concordance and addresses workforce shortages.

Tequila Terry shares how a new CMS model, called Total Cost of Care, is helping drive and fund innovation in Maryland to expand behavioral health crisis services.

Tom Betlach shares how states can use a one-year HCBS 10% federal medical assistance percentage bump to build out their behavioral health crisis systems in preparation for 988. Today is the deadline.

In rural Northeast Oklahoma, nearly 6,000 “mental health machine” iPads immediately connect people in crisis to a face-to-face mental health response.

As states prepare for 988, Andrea Rifkind says they should expand their crisis continuum to include in-home stabilization for young people.

Grady EMS in Atlanta, Georgia, diverts callers experiencing mental health challenges and helps them find alternative solutions when the emergency department isn’t the best fit.

As the U.S. edges nearer to the date 988 will go live, Dr. Anitra Warrior says states need to think about equity and their indigenous populations.

The Bridge Center for Hope opened its doors in February 2021, and it's already making an impact. Kathy Kliebert, former secretary of health and former assistant secretary of behavioral health for Louisiana, says that the journey to develop the Bridge Center for Hope started in 2005 with the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.

In Austin, when a person dials 911, the call taker asks, “Are you calling for police, fire, EMS, or mental health services?” Adding mental health as an option is groundbreaking and part of the city’s crisis call diversion initiative where clinicians are co-located on the 911 call center’s operations floor.

The 911 system is plagued with blind spots—those inherent to the current 911 process and others shaped by systemic and personal biases, says Dr. Rebecca Neusteter, executive director at University of Chicago’s Health Lab. She shares the troubling history of 911 and how 988 can avoid the same missteps.

Today we sit down with the team responsible for helping redesign crisis services in Montana. They share the challenges they’ve faced with the pandemic, overcoming vast distances of rural land, and innovations that are paving the way for change, including mobile crisis services and a brand new Lifeline member call center.

The middle school years are when kids develop their individuality and their identity among their peers. For kids experiencing middle school during the Covid pandemic—well, that’s a whole new level of difficulty, says Emily Moser, director of YouthLine Programs at Lines for Life in Oregon.

On March 18, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam signed Senate Bill 1302 into law, which designates a 988 call center and establishes a crisis call center fund. It also provides a monthly telecom tax, making Virginia the first state to pass 988 service fee legislation.

Moki Macias and Kristin Schillig on how a deep dive into Atlanta’s 911 calls for service revealed the need for an integrated rapid response system for quality of life calls, resulting in the PAD 311 Community Referral Services.

State Sen. Daniel Thatcher on how the idea for a three-digit number for mental health and suicide crisis in Utah transformed the national landscape.

When Bill O’Quin's son, David, experienced a mental health crisis, police officers took him to the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison. Thirteen days later, David died. Prison staff had left him for days in a restraint chair, resulting in blood clots in the deep veins of his lower right leg. O’Quin shares how prison is a dangerous place for a person in psychosis and the diversion programs and services that could have saved his son’s life.

“Every mobile crisis provider is like a snowflake,” says Preston Looper, because of gaps in protocols, availability, consistency, and funding. With 988 on the horizon, he points out that now is the time to standardize the service.

Michelle Edwards, Lived Experience Lead at Gold Coast Mental Health Specialist Services (GCMHSS), and Dr. Kathryn Turner, Clinical Director for GCMHSS, talk with #CrisisTalk about their publication “Gold Coast Crisis Reform: A Strategic Approach to Transforming Mental Health Crisis Care.”

Judy Fitzgerald, the commissioner of DBHDD, and Debbie Atkins, director of Crisis Coordination at DBHDD, share Georgia’s crisis system transformation and the lessons they’ve learned in anticipation of 988.

Ken Zimmerman, S2i founder and co-director, says intersection between race, criminal justice, health inequities, and the pandemic has created an opportunity for social justice reform that we must realize or lose.

Washington was the first state to propose implementation legislation for 988, the three-digit number for behavioral health emergencies that must be available nationwide on July 16, 2022. Suicidologist Jennifer Stuber, Ph.D., helped craft it.  She first heard of 988 on the news. “Just like everyone else,” she says. “I thought, ‘I sure hope there’s funding coming to support the Lifeline centers that are already underfunded in Washington state.’” Dr. Stuber is a professor and co-founder of Forefront Suicide Prevention at the University of Washington. She lost her husband, Matt Adler, to suicide a decade ago and changed her research focus because of that life-altering event. “My career and research focused on healthcare and mental health policy, yet I didn’t know how

Sue Murray sits down with Dr. Karen Newbigging from the University of Birmingham in the U.K. to discuss whether the mental health workforce is prepared to meet the current and long-term spike in demand.

Former Washington Post reporter and best-selling author Pete Earley was introduced to the mental healthcare system when, in 2000, his son called him and said, “I can’t tell if I’m dreaming all the time or if I’m awake.”

Shinichi Tokuno has developed a smartphone health app that analyzes vocal cord vibration. He's using it to track the Covid pandemic's social impact.

Kirsten Beronio, JD, Policy and Regulatory Affairs director at the National Association for Behavioral Healthcare, says states can, at least in part, draw upon several existing CMS initiatives to develop or strengthen their crisis care systems before 988—the nationwide three-digit number for behavioral health emergencies—becomes a reality on July 16, 2022.

Last week, SAMHSA released a Notice of Award. Under the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, and the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplement Appropriations Act, 2021, $35 million in federal funding per year has been added to the Mental Health Block Grant to support evidence-based crisis systems. Michael Hogan, Ph.D., Crisis Now co-founder and former New York mental health commissioner, breaks down the Notice of Award and what the crisis services set aside could mean for states in helping people get the support they need, where and when they need it most.

Nikki Highsmith Vernick and Glenn E. Schneider of the Horizon Foundation share how the philanthropy set out to change behavioral health crisis care in Maryland amidst spikes of hospital readmissions and psychiatric boarding. GBRICS, the Greater Baltimore Regional Integrated Crisis System Partnership, is a collaborative effort that includes 17 hospitals and 4 counties.

From the onset of the pandemic, Dr. Roca notes there’s been a tension between avoiding contagion and the need to mitigate the toxicity of isolation. His patients frequently share two common concerns: fear of the virus and distress from separation from family and friends. Many Americans, especially older adults, he says, must carefully assess the costs and benefits of their decisions.

Data scientists Prof. Martin Connor and Dr. Christopher Ogg are using real-time data to eliminate long wait times, bottlenecks, and service delays in crisis care. The end-game, says Connor, “is to see the entire system.”

16-year-old Reina Chiang and her mother, Kana Enomoto, a national leader in behavioral healthcare, share their experience navigating the Maryland crisis care system. It includes long wait times in the emergency room and inpatient hospitalization, which Chiang calls a short-term bandaid that’s more like a prison, with kids waiting around idle, than a place for care. Chiang and Enomoto talk about what programs made a difference and the accessibility challenges kids face getting into them.

Ted Lutterman of NRI shares how 23 states, with funding from SAMHSA, are developing real-time psychiatric bed registries to improve timely access to mental health treatment. Some states are going beyond beds by creating a comprehensive crisis services registry. Covid has caused implementation delays, but states have found that having an existing registry helped them adjust to the pandemic more rapidly.

Behavioral health crisis services leadership and staff are getting the coronavirus vaccine around the United States, encouraging their colleagues and others to do the same. The rollout began on December 14, 2020. Have a photo you’d like to send? You can reach us at​ [gallery link="none" type="rectangular" size="medium" ids="7980,7978,7976,7971,7972,7963,7939,7937,7931,7898,7896,7894,7867,7866,7844,7845"]

Sue Murray speaks with Bobby Pratap, deputy head of mental health at NHS England, on innovations to transform crisis care, fill in historical gaps, and enhance community mental health services.

Lisa St. George's stepfather began sexually abusing her at the age of seven. At 18, her thoughts of suicide grew emboldened, "sitting on my shoulder and talking in my ear." She discusses psychiatric hospitalization and how seclusion and restraint is re-traumatizing for victims of violence. She says the mental health field must do all it can to eradicate it.

When in a psychiatric crisis, who a person of color encounters matters, says Victor Armstrong. He hopes change is on the horizon with 988 but notes it must coincide with advancing crisis care. Otherwise, telling people not to call 911 without an adequate solution leaves people in crisis and their families with no help at all.

Psychologist Stephanie Woodard, senior advisor on behavioral health at Nevada DHHS, says the coronavirus pandemic's impact has been profound. However, the negatives have also come with increased compassion and mental health understanding among Nevadans and FEMA funding, allowing the state to strengthen its public health caring communities approach.

Dr. Matthew L. Goldman says what can transform 988 into a robust tool for advancing crisis systems is implementation, funding, coordination, clinical best practices, and research and evaluation. “Otherwise,” notes Dr. Goldman, “988 will be only a rebranding of 1-800-273-TALK, the number to the SAMHSA-funded National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.”

Today, Dr. Michael Allen talks with #CrisisTalk about the new CMS payment model ET3—Emergency Triage, Treat, and Transport, which allows for earlier diversion of people in mental health crisis. Under the new payment model, ambulance services can divert lower-acuity medical cases and psychiatric crises to facilities that better match the person’s needs instead of defaulting to the hospital emergency room.

Today, we talk to Debra A. Pinals, M.D., about the Elijah McClain case and the controversial excited delirium syndrome diagnosis. Though the case happened in 2019, the diagnosis has recently caught the attention of the mainstream population and the medical field alike because of the application of ketamine by paramedics as a chemical restraint performed seemingly at the behest of law enforcement and the disparity of its use on Black men.

Dr. Head-Dunham says racism in America has been like a kettle percolating, just waiting for the right amount of heat to blow the top off. The pandemic’s timing, racial disparities in COVID-19 cases and deaths, the political climate, and the murder of George Floyd by four Minneapolis police officers on May 25 have been that heat. She says it has galvanized people of all races and ethnicities, but it’s also taken a mental health toll on Black Americans. “It’s so palpable that it’s hard for us not to lose it emotionally. I have to figure out the words to even engage in this conversation.”

CW Tillman, who has worked in mental health and disability rights, says mental health advocacy lags decades behind. He talks about the civil rights disability movement and its role in the Americans with Disabilities Act. He also discusses the ADA’s vague language, which has left the term "disability" open to interpretation, precluding protection for the very people Congress aimed to include.

Dr. Kevin Huckshorn is known in the mental health community as a hospital fixer, taking facilities on the cusp of losing certification, or worse, and breathing new life into them. Her personal goal is to address the science to service gap and bring humanity into any facility she enters.

As helicopters hover above her to put out a nearby fire, Leora Wolf-Prusan, EdD, of the Center for Applied Research Solutions, shares insights on school leadership's role during and after a crisis. She talks about lessons learned from numerous disasters such as the Paradise Camp Fire and school mass shootings that can inform school leadership during COVID-19.

Three years ago, Angela Kimball, national director of advocacy and public policy at NAMI, witnessed her thirty-year-old son experience a psychotic break. She shares the system challenges she faced trying to help him and the crisis care loop she and her son ended up stuck in.

Today, Dr. Charles Browning sits down to talk with Sheree Lowe, vice-president of behavioral health at the California Hospital Association. Lowe highlights that because California lacks 24/7 mental health emergency services, it forces people into a choke point of emergency departments during the involuntary care commitment process. She shares with Dr. Browning her desire to increase coordination and partnership among all crisis care partners to improve consumer service and minimize the crisis system's deficiencies.

Colleen Carr—director of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention at the EDC—says the pandemic has resulted in a collective experience among Americans, which has fostered a vital culture shift in talking about mental health, substance use, and suicide. Suddenly, for the first time, many people are experiencing mental health challenges and realize that where they are on the wellness continuum can alter rapidly “based on what’s happening in the world, the culture in which we are living, social context, or environmental factors.” Carr shares how this change in mindset can be an opportunity for progress and empowerment.

Rachel Bowes, head of crisis services and quality at Lifeline Australia, says the COVID-19 pandemic came on the heels of devastating bushfires and has resulted in closed state borders, the biggest budget deficit since the end of the Second World War, and opportunities for growth.

How COVID-19 is impacting communities: Kevin Fisher, executive director for NAMI Michigan, told The Detroit News that mental health providers in the state are starting to see the effects. It’s resulted in a surge in mental health demands, with calls to the state’s crisis lines up 80%. The problem for Michiganders, he noted, is disparate access to crisis care.

Dr. Robert E. Drake, co-developer of the supported employment model Individual Placement and Support (IPS), says that people with serious mental illness and other disabilities are highly vulnerable to the pandemic and associated mandates, pointing out that “their safety and economic security should be high on our list of priorities.” He explains how the IPS model developed and why supported employment is central to recovery.

Crisis Now partners and leaders from around the world have released the Washington DC International Declaration, which calls for comprehensive and integrated networks as the first defense for mental health crises. The partners discuss the unrelenting inequity in access to care for people experiencing mental health emergencies compared to those deemed physical. They point out that mental health crises warrant not only timely attention but also the level of care that best aligns with people’s needs instead of defaulting to the emergency room or jail. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the movement toward community response, as opposed to law enforcement, make the declaration’s tenets more vital than ever.

Wendy Linebrink-Allison, program manager of the New Mexico Crisis and Access Line, has been in recovery for over 15 years. She says she was jolted into sobriety when she saw her husband having a seizure in their front yard. He was experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms from alcohol. That day, they began their recovery journey.

Sue Murray, who leads the Zero Suicide Institute of Australia, interviews Dr. Caroline Dollery and Dr. Phil Moore from the U.K. on the IIMHL and Crisis Now 2 Summit in D.C. where leaders from around the globe developed an international declaration for mental health crisis care.

Dr. Tia Dole shares how LGBTQ youth are responding to protests and the COVID-19 pandemic. She says that callers to the Trevor Project have shared stories of isolation, inclusion, and growth.

On Thursday, the FCC voted to formally make 988 the nationwide number for mental health, substance use, and suicide crisis, adopting rules that require all phone service carriers to start directing 988 calls to the existing Lifeline by July 16, 2022. While the FCC moving forward with 988 is essential, it's also dire that the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act of 2020 becomes law. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) and others explain why.

Megan Gleason, LCSW, is the metro Atlanta regional manager for the Behavioral Health Link (BHL) blended mobile crisis program, a 24-hour response service that covers the vast majority of Georgia counties. Earlier this year, she participated in the FBI Citizens Academy, a selective 6-8 week program that gives leaders a look inside the agency and helps strengthen its relationships within the community. Gleason shares details about the academy and the partnership BHL has with the FBI.

Previous disasters have illustrated the dire need to address risk factors for substance use disorders (SUDs) during and after a crisis. Yet, the Stafford Act, the 1988 federal law to provide public assistance programs to states, tribes, and local governments after a disaster, doesn't explicitly include them. In today's article, Robert Morrison, executive director and director of legislative affairs at NASADAD, discusses how the statute has not kept up with the times and the short and long-term impacts.

There has been a great deal of speculation on what’s to come in mental health and what the suicide rate will be when 2020 is all said and done. Suicidologist Daniel S. DeBrule, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Medicine and Psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine, is cautiously optimistic. He says the abrupt shifts in human behavior necessary to halt the COVID-19 pandemic—physical distancing, school cancellations, and working remotely—could result in a number of outcomes. Yes, there are, and will continue to be, adverse effects, but there have also been some benefits, which will likely be reflected in the 2020 suicide rates. He points to Japan, where the number of suicides in April was 20% lower than last year (1,455 compared

FCC chairman, Ajit Pai, announced today that the agency is taking the next step to establish 988 as the nationwide 3-digit number for mental health, substance use, and suicide crisis, mirroring what 911 is for medical emergencies.

A newly released Crisis Now infographic gives insight into the costs of an insufficient mental health crisis care system, showing there is more demand for ED and inpatient care when communities are without a robust crisis continuum. Dr. Mike Hogan, co-founder of Crisis Now, shares why.

Teens are navigating social distancing during a pandemic, the absence of school and face-to-face time with friends and peers, and increased dependency on social media for connection, leaving many feeling in limbo and without the in-person support they typically depend on. Nikki Kontz, clinical director at Teen Lifeline (800-248-TEEN), says peer-to-peer crisis hotlines play a vital role, giving teens a space to have conversations about what’s happening in their lives with someone who “gets it.”

Victor Armstrong says racism and explicit and implicit biases is a layered problem that seeps into every crevice of society, which means it makes its way into law enforcement, schools, and healthcare. It’s easy to say racism needs to stop, but Armstrong points out that often people are unaware of their own biases, even against themselves.

Chuck Ingoglia, president and CEO at National Council for Behavioral Health, shares the challenges community mental health and addiction treatment organizations are facing during COVID-19 and the funding that's needed to keep them open.

Margaret Hines is a vital part of Kevin Hines' recovery journey. They share what works and what people can do during the pandemic to help loved struggling with mental health challenges.

Elizabeth Sinclair Hancq and John Snook share the gaps, challenges, and innovations in treating people experiencing Serious Mental Illness (SMI) and homelessness during COVID-19.