Johnson County Mental Health Center launches grant-funded campaign to raise awareness for the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline
Johnson County Mental Health Center launched a five-month digital campaign on Wednesday to raise awareness for the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, the simple dialing code that provides around-the-clock connections to free, confidential mental health support. Calls to 988 from Johnson County phone numbers are answered by Johnson County Mental Health Center.
Through voices and stories from four crisis call specialists answering 988 calls in Johnson County, the campaign answers common questions about the line, like when you should call and what to expect when you call. Each video from the campaign ends with one message: “we’re here to help, just a phone call away.”
“When someone calls 988 in Johnson County, we want them to know there’s guidance, encouragement, hope, and zero judgment from the voice answering their call,” said Rob MacDougall, Director of Emergency Services for Johnson County Mental Health Center. “They’ll reach a trained, local person who can share the resources we have available in our community.”
Results from a Pew survey released in May revealed that only 13% of adults nationwide had heard of 988 and were aware of its purpose. By reaching audiences across popular platforms like Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, JCMHC hopes the campaign will help the community make the connection between the easy-to-remember number and the mental health support it provides.
“We want reaching out to 988 for mental health support to become as second nature as calling 911 is for medical or safety emergencies, and an awareness campaign like this one is a big step toward making that happen,” said MacDougall.
The campaign is a part of a grant program through the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services to fund local suicide prevention efforts across the state. Gov. Laura Kelly announced $500,000 in funding for 15 organizations in March.
JCMHC worked with Overflow, a Kansas City-based storytelling and idea adoption firm, to create the campaign.
Nationally, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline also offers text and chat options, as well as specialized connections for Spanish speakers, veterans, LGBTQI+ communities and deaf and hard-of-hearing communities.