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Editorial: For crisis response, press 988 — and pass a bill to keep it funded

Source: LA Times Editorial Board

In the future, there will be a number to call for help, much like 911, yet different. It will be like a suicide crisis line, but better. On the other end of the line will be trained and experienced counselors adept at assisting people in the midst of mental health crises. They will be able to field questions and offer resources to families and friends concerned for the well-being of their loved ones. Their real-time, over-the-phone emergency counseling skills will be enhanced by a kind of superpower: They will be able to dispatch mental health clinicians, instead of police officers with guns or paramedics with trauma equipment.

And those on-the-ground experts will have an appropriate place to take people in crisis. Not jail, not the hospital, but centers geared expressly for meeting the needs of people experiencing an emotional, psychological or substance-use breakdown.