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988 Suicide Prevention Hotline Sees Increase in Calls Weeks After Its Launch

The nation’s new 988 Suicide Hotline, which launched six weeks ago, is being inundated with calls.

The three digit hotline was set up as an alternative to 911 and provides free support to anyone who is in emotional distress.

Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services in Century City is one of the nearly 200 crisis centers across the country taking calls on the new, 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.

“We noticed a huge increase in calls, chats, and texts,” said Carolyn Levitan the director of crisis care at Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services.

Levitan is the senior director of crisis care at Didi Hirsch. She says since the launch of, 988, there has been a 35% increase in calls to the local suicide hotline. Texts from people for help has doubled.

Levitan wants to reassure callers that the goal of, 988, is to provide support and resources and not to send law enforcement to the homes of those in crisis.

“Many people worry if they talk about suicidal thoughts there’s so much stigma in our society that people are going to call the ambulance or emergency services right away and that’s really not the case,” Levitan said. “Only about 3% of our contacts end in an emergency response.”

John and Soo Marasigan from Sherman Oaks lost their daughter to suicide about two year ago.

“It’s what parents nightmares are made of,” John Marasigan said.

Jade Lee Marasigan was a 17-year-old honors student and star volleyball player at Granda Hills Charter High School. Despite years of mental health struggles, she started her own jewelry design business and had a popular TikTok account.

Jade’s parents say they had trouble finding mental health services for teens. They took matters into their own hands and started the Jade Lee Marasigan Charitable Fund to provide resources for other families.

“I wish there was something like this when I was going through it,” Soo Marasigan said.

The Marasigan’s say they’re hopeful that the stigma surrounding mental health issues is diminishing and their foundation and the new 988 hotline will make a real difference in saving lives.

“The amount of grief we’ve had to go through that’s not something we want other families to go through,” John Marasigan said.

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