Colorado Crisis Services statement on FCC approval of federal 988 number

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DENVER (July 16, 2020) — The Colorado Department of Human Services, Office of Behavioral Health (OBH) released the following statement responding to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) vote today to establish 988 as the nationwide number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

“For those experiencing a behavioral health crisis, timely care can save lives,” said Robert Werthwein, director of OBH, which funds and oversees Colorado Crisis Services. “Using an easy-to-remember number like 988 has the potential to improve access and increase calls. 988 is not yet operational, however, so Coloradans can continue to receive 24/7 support from Colorado Crisis Services by calling 1-844-493-TALK (8255) or texting TALK to 38255. We look forward to conversations on 988 implementation with our federal and state partners.”

Rocky Mountain Crisis Partners staffs the Colorado Crisis Services hotline and already answers calls to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline from a Colorado area code. With today’s action, the FCC will require telephone and internet companies to transfer calls to 988 to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline within the next two years. 

The FCC vote comes as more Coloradans seek behavioral health support. The Colorado Crisis Services line has experienced record-breaking volume during the COVID-19 pandemic and has seen a 30 percent increase in volume since March.

If you or someone you know is in crisis or needs help dealing with one, call the Colorado Crisis Services toll-free number 1-844-493-TALK (8255) or text TALK to 38255 for free, confidential, 24/7 counseling support.  

Colorado Crisis Services provides residents with mental health, substance use or emotional crisis help, information and referrals. Its mission is to strengthen Colorado’s behavioral health system by providing Coloradans with greater access to crisis services wherever they are at 24/7, regardless of ability to pay.

Media contact:
Madlynn Ruble, Deputy Director of Communications