The 10-digit election begins Sunday for New Mexico

This is all part of a nationwide plan to introduce a new and easy-to-remember number for access to mental health services.

Just as you can dial 911 in an emergency, you can dial 988 in a mental crisis.

However, because many local numbers in the state start with 988, you must use the area code for all calls to the state starting Sunday.

From next July you will be connected to the National Lifeline for Suicide Prevention on 988 anywhere in the country.

“So instead of having to remember the ten-digit National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number, it is being merged into a three-digit number for people to remember,” said Wendy Linebrink-Allison, program manager for ProtoCall Services, who run the crisis lines operates from New Mexico.

She said the change will make it easier for people to get access to mental health services when they are in a crisis and it will be an alternative to calling 911.

“By implementing the 988 in our communities, people can choose whether to call the police and fire services, or whether to have a mental health talk or a mental health response,” said Linebrink-Allison.

While the federal deadline for implementing the new 988 Lifeline number ends next July, Linebrink-Allison said that some phone companies in our state have already implemented it.

If you or a loved one is in trouble, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number is 1-800-273-8255.

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