Nearly 50% increase in 988 call volume in Southwest Virginia

988 is the nationwide phone number for those in crisis

The cast of the hit TV comedy “Ted Lasso” visited the White House on Monday, but they weren’t there just for laughs.

President Joe Biden welcomed the cast to discuss mental health and the importance of taking care of yourself and others, which is something they said is a theme in the show.

The Biden administration said they’ve had a focus on mental health, including launching the 988 suicide and crisis lifeline last July.

Frontier Health operates the 988 call center currently serving Southwest Virginia.

“We have seen nearly a 50% increase in the call volume that we’re receiving,” Sherri Feathers said. “Which is a great thing because we know there’s a lot of folks out there that needed help and didn’t know where to go to or who to call.”

Feathers said anyone can call the service at any time.

“We answer around the clock,” Feathers said. “We have call staff available, weekends, holidays we’re always here and always available to anyone who needs someone to talk to.”

Feathers said people call in for many reasons.

“We hear a lot of people who are having relationship issues,” Feather said. “They’re very upset about relationship issues, and they call — they just need someone to talk to in the moment. We also have folks that are experiencing a lot of financial distress. Maybe problems with family, jobs, just a lot of different things that people are dealing with, a lot of different stressors.”

If you do call the number, what happens? Feather said it really depends on what you’re looking for.

“Community resources are available,” Feathers said. “Also, if someone is having a serious emergency, we can dispatch a mobile crisis clinician to come and talk to them immediately. So, the important thing is that we get the people the most appropriate help they need in the moment.”

Feathers said they receive around 200 calls a month from the city of Roanoke alone.

About the Author

Amy Cockerham joined the 10 News team in January 2023.

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