WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – It’s been a year since the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline went live in Kansas. A new study looked into how much the hotline has been used and how effective it’s been.
The study by the Kansas Health Institute found there were more than 20,000 calls made to 988 in Kansas this past year.
One advocate wishes the resource had been available sooner.
It’s been two long years since Lori Barnes’ oldest son, Daniel, took his life after battling mental illness for nearly a decade.
Lori Barnes’ oldest son, Daniel (Courtesy: Lori Barnes)
She did everything she could to help.
“I kind of felt lost,” Lori said. “When they’re adults, when you have adult kids, your hands are tied.”
Barnes testified in support of implementing 988 at the Kansas legislature. She was there when the bill was signed.
She believes the lifeline could have saved her son.
“I could’ve called on Daniel and said, ‘Hey, what are your suggestions? What else can I do to help him, you know, where else can I go?'” Lori said.
Parents started dialing into the 988 lifeline once it went live.
The COMCARE Community Crisis Center in downtown Wichita takes calls directed to 988.
“We received a lot of calls from family and loved ones and people who might be concerned about a loved one,” said Jennifer Wilson, director of the crisis center. “They called just for information and connection to resources.”
About 1,600 calls were made to the 988 line every month in Kansas in the year since it became available, according to the recent KHI study.
“The other thing to look at is chats and texts,” said KHI analyst Valentina Blanchard. “I think those numbers have really increased over the past year as centers have expanded their hours.”
Barnes wishes the line existed in 2021 before her son passed away.
“I wish it would’ve been there back then,” Barnes said. “But I’m happy just because I know it’s gonna help other people. It’s gonna make a big difference.”
If you or anyone you know is struggling with mental health, click here to find lists of local resources.