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Mental health in Spanish-Language

Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services selected as one of the best centers nationwide to respond to different psychological crises.

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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary Xavier Becerra recently announced that 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline will now offer text and chat services in Spanish-language nationwide, with Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services selected as one of five crisis centers to provide this option to those seeking help across the country.

With the addition of these new services, Spanish-speaking people can now access vital mental health support through 988 with 24/7 call, text and chat support.

Alejandra Vargas, a bilingual Spanish program coordinator and crisis counselor for Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services, stated in a press release:

The addition of Spanish text and chat services makes 988 more accessible and provides people with new options to connect with a counselor in a way that feels comfortable for them.

Anniversary Gift

The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline platform upgrade to include text and chat in Spanish-language arrived to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the easy-to-remember three-digit number, which launched on July 16, 2022.

Hirsch Mental Health Services highlighted recent findings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which show that suicide continues to be a major public health crisis across the country, with suicide rates among Hispanics increasing by 38% between 2013 and 2020.

“The addition of Spanish text and chat services supports 988’s mission to make mental health support available to everyone who needs it and in a way that is culturally competent,” said Shari Sinwelski, LPCC, vice president of Crisis Care at Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services.

Online Emotional Support

The organization notes that people connected with Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services have been able to communicate with a bilingual crisis counselor in Spanish-language for many years.

It also indicates that the national Spanish-language 988 subnet has seen an increase in calls along with improved response rates since the easy-to-remember three-digit dialing code was launched in July 2022.

Nearly 70,000 calls were routed to the Spanish-language calling subnet in 2022. 988 nationwide also improved response rates for Spanish-language calls by 22% from July 2022 to June 2023.

“The transition to 988 as an easy-to-remember number for calls, texts and chats supports suicide prevention and helps individuals in crisis connect with critical lifesaving resources. 988 is providing individuals in crisis with a literal lifeline to connect quickly 24/7 with a compassionate counselor,” added Sinwelski. 

Simple Connection

Contacting 988 connects people directly with a highly trained counselor who will listen to the person in crisis, assess their safety, work with them to develop a plan to feel better, and connect them with support resources.

Counselors can also provide follow-up contact with people in crisis to make sure they are getting better and can access necessary resources and support.

“You don’t have to be in a suicidal crisis to contact 988. Whether you’re experiencing distress, helping a loved one, concerned about drug or alcohol use or having thoughts about self-harm or other upsetting thoughts, you can call, text or chat the 988 Lifeline anytime,” stressed Vargas.

Dialing code 988, a network of more than 200 locally-funded and operated crisis centers across the country, operates through what was formerly known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which was established in 2005.

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