9-8-8, N.H.’s forthcoming mental health hotline gets ARPA funding
New Hampshire is receiving $338,000 in federal American Rescue Plan Act funding to supplement its mental health hotline.
The funding comes ahead of the July rollout of a three digit mental health hotline across the country. Advocates in New Hampshire hope the number, which will be 9-8-8, will become a go-to call line for mental health crises.
Right now, New Hampshire already has its own 10 digit number 833-710-6477 which rolled out at the start of 2022. The rollout included statewide mobile crisis units which can respond in person, when needed.
The state plans to use the new funding to hire a crisis center coordinator and expand staffing and infrastructure for the text and chat features of the emergency hotline. State health officials have said text and chat is used disproportionately by young people.
Marena Beale is a junior at Gilford High school, and a peer advocate with New Hampshire organization Reach 1 Teach 1 Love 1. She said having a robust text option for teens may make asking for help in a mental health crisis more approachable.
“I’ve definitely noticed that as a peer who gets reached out to, sometimes it’s a lot easier to text behind a screen than have that conversation on the phone” Beale said.