Mental health crisis line struggling to find staff

Branches of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline are dealing with hundreds of vacant counselor positions as the crisis line's transition to providing more encompassing services is quickly approaching, Illinois Newsroom reported June 9.

At the crisis line's Harris, Texas, branch, Director of Access Jennifer Battle has spent the last 18 months attempting to fill 25 vacant positions. 

"There's always been this core pocket of people who are right for us. And now it feels like that pocket of people, I don't know where they're going," Ms. Battle told Illinois Newsroom.

Once the 10-digit Lifeline number converts to 988 on July 16, it's predicted that up to 12 million people could reach out to the new three-digit line in the first year. If the call centers remain understaffed, this influx of calls could jeopardize those who reach out to the line experiencing a crisis and could lead to the current staff being overworked.

Ms. Battle says that in her 20-year career running crisis lines, this is the most trouble she's had hiring.

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