Q&A: How Will California’s New 988 Mental Health Line Actually Work?

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If you or someone you know is in a crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.

In September 2020, Congress passed bipartisan legislation creating a three-digit national suicide hotline: 988. Think of it as an alternative to 911 for mental health emergencies.

The system is intended to make it easier to seek immediate help during a mental health crisis. Instead of calling 911 or the 10-digit national suicide hotline, Americans theoretically will be able to speak to a trained counselor by calling 988 from most any phone line.

The federal law allows states to raise funds for the effort by levying a surcharge on monthly bills for mobile and landline phone service. The money can be used to support the dedicated call centers, pay for trained mobile response

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Trabajadores de salud alertan sobre el aumento de la violencia en hospitales

El departamento de emergencias del Hospital San Leandro, en California, donde trabaja la enfermera Mawata Kamara, se cerró de urgencia cuando un visitante, preocupado por no poder ver a un paciente por las restricciones de covid-19, amenazó con volver con un arma.

No fue la primera vez que el departamento se enfrentó a una amenaza de arma de fuego durante la pandemia. A principios de año, un paciente psiquiátrico al que todos conocían se volvió cada vez más violento, gritando insultos raciales, escupiendo a los empleados y lanzando puñetazos antes de amenazar con dispararle a Kamara en la cara.

“La violencia siempre ha sido un problema”, dijo Kamara. “Esta pandemia realmente solo le puso una lupa”.

En los primeros días de la pandemia, las celebraciones nocturnas elogiaban la valentía de los trabajadores sanitarios de primera línea. Un año y medio después, esos mismos trabajadores dicen que están experimentando un aumento

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‘Are You Going to Keep Me Safe?’ Hospital Workers Sound Alarm on Rising Violence

The San Leandro Hospital emergency department, where nurse Mawata Kamara works, went into lockdown recently when a visitor, agitated about being barred from seeing a patient due to covid-19 restrictions, threatened to bring a gun to the California facility.

It wasn’t the first time the department faced a gun threat during the pandemic. Earlier in the year, a psychiatric patient well known at the department became increasingly violent, spewing racial slurs, spitting toward staffers and lobbing punches before eventually threatening to shoot Kamara in the face.

“Violence has always been a problem,” Kamara said. “This pandemic really just added a magnifying glass.”

In the earliest days of the pandemic, nightly celebrations lauded the bravery of front-line health care workers. Eighteen months later, those same workers say they are experiencing an alarming rise in violence in their workplaces.

A nurse testified before a Georgia Senate study

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