Almost 11 months ago, the phone number 988 launched as a new crisis number, available to all US landline and cell phone users, that accesses over 200 local and state funded crisis centers. The number is meant to be an easy-to-remember way to access mental health support. It also wraps in the former 10-digit role of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. With a shorter and easier-to-remember phone number, call volume has increased dramatically as compared to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, but as a corollary, so have forced psychiatric holds. The call centers are boldly advertised as confidential, but call centers actually sometimes share peoples information with 911 and police agencies. We explore the relationship between force, emergency mental healthcare, and the new 988 crisis hotline, with Rob Wipond, a journalist who writes frequently on the interfaces between psychiatry, civil rights, policing, surveillance and privacy. He’s also the author of a new book, Your Consent Is Not Required: The Rise in Psychiatric Detentions, Forced Treatment, and Abusive Guardianships. Rob has been writing about the new 988 hotline for the web magazine Mad in America.
Check out Rob Wipond’s latest piece for Mad in America: https://www.madinamerica.com/2023/05/psychiatric-detentions-rise-988/
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