Announcing 9-8-8 Message from CEO Chris Kughn, LMFT

Announcing 9-8-8 Message from CEO Chris Kughn, LMFT

We are experiencing a mental healthcare crisis. The nation-wide transition to 988, the new three-digit phone and text number for mental health, substance use and suicidal crises, marks significant progress in expanding access at the critical time a person needs help. Suicide is preventable and these lifesaving services are urgently needed.

Buckelew Programs’ accredited Suicide Prevention 24/7 hotline has been in continuous operation for over 50 years. Today, Buckelew’s Suicide hotline has multi-language capabilities and responds to approximately 1,000 monthly calls from Marin, Sonoma, Lake and Mendocino counties. 988 is designed to be an alternative to our current emergency response systems. In the leadup and planning, there has been, and continues to be, a substantial emphasis in building compassionate and evidence-based supports for those approaching and in crisis. As one of 13 call centers in California responding to 988, we anticipate increased call volume. Thanks to our many partners, particularly Didi Hirsh Foundation and Vibrant Health at the forefront of this work, we are prepared.

Our Suicide Prevention counselors are well-trained to support callers in de-escalation, safety planning and connecting to critical resources; in some regions, they are also able to engage mobile and emergency response teams as needed and when appropriate. It’s important to emphasize that calls to the hotline are confidential. Identity and location information is released only with consent and then only for lifesaving intervention.

988 is remarkable progress. Of course, much more needs to be done. We are gathering data through our transition process and working with community partners at the local and state level to thoughtfully address healthcare gaps.

Buckelew Programs is committed to continuing our work toward greater access to mental health care. Again, thank you to all of our partners that support our work and our vibrant North Bay community.

Please help us to share accurate information about 988 and Buckelew Suicide Prevention Program.

To engage our outreach staff for your community or business group, please contact Buckelew Suicide Prevention Outreach and Education Coordinator Christina Nihil at 415-444-6000; for Spanish Speaking Outreach, please contact Julie Morse at at 415-320-4799.