JOPLIN, Mo. — Three numbers are saving lives, one year after their launch.
The 988 suicide and crisis lifeline has been operational for a year now. Missouri has gotten about 4,000 “988” calls in the last year.
Joplin’s Ozark Center takes roughly 8-to-9,000 crisis calls a year, and about a thousand of those have been from the 988 hotline. The other calls come from the local Ozark Center crisis line and texting.
Staff said the hotline can be used for more than just a person with suicidal ideations.
“So, we don’t want people to be afraid to call if you’re having high job stress, you’re having marital discord, relationship difficulties, parenting difficulties. Maybe you’re struggling with an eating disorder or an addiction. It can be really any reason,” said Debbie Fitzgerald, Freeman Health System Ozark Center Director of Crisis Services.
Ozark Center’s crisis center handles calls from Barton, Jasper, Newton, and McDonald counties. The center also reports about a thousand mobile crisis “page outs” a year, which means staff members meet an individual where that person is in crisis.