OLATHE, Kan. — Johnson County Mental Health will add more staff to its ranks to help support suicide prevention efforts.
On Thursday, the Johnson County Board of Commissioners approved plans to hire four additional full-time crisis call specialist to support the Johnson County Crisis Line (913) 268-0156 and 988 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
In 2019, Congress passed a law to make 988 the nationwide three-digit number for mental health crisis and suicide prevention. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24/7 support to people experiencing emotional distress or suicidal thoughts.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline will transition from 1-800-273-TALK to 988 on July 16. Johnson County Mental Health has seen a significant increase in crisis calls over the past several years, especially during the pandemic, and anticipates numbers will continue to increase in the coming months and through the transition to 988.
The new county employees will provide crisis intervention services, which includes counseling, suicide screenings and referrals to other community resources.
The positions are funded through a grant from the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) and will require no additional funding from the county.