By Nicole Montesano • Staff Writer • 

New suicide hotline number, 988, intended to be as easy as 911

A new suicide hotline number opened this weekend, intended to make the number, 988, as easy to remember and call as 911. It is available by text or phone call, and in both English and Spanish.

The number replaces the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and offers access 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to trained counselors who can help people experiencing suicidal, substance use, and other mental health crises. The change is part of President Biden’s effort to address a nationwide mental health crisis.

Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in Oregon, according to county Health and Human Services Director Lindsey, Manfrin, and although rates have begun to decrease in the state, they have gone up for the last two years in Yamhill County. This year, Manfrin sought an extra $61,215 from the county budget committee to create a new full-time analyst position, to assist with the county’s suicide prevention efforts.

The 988 lifeline links to the Veterans Crisis Line. All telephone service and text providers in the U.S. and the five major U.S. territories were required by the FCC to activate 988 no later than Saturday, July 16.

Yamhill County also offers mental health first aid and suicide prevention training programs that businesses, churches, schools and other agencies can offer to train participants in suicide prevention strategies, based on evidence and cultural competence. To request a training, call the Suicide Prevention Coordinator at 503-474-6253.

Another program the county offers helps community members respond to the devastation and loss following a death by suicide, which can trigger others.

More information is available at, along with a link to the Suicide Training brochure.

Depression, despair, severe pain, traumatic brain injury, substance abuse, sudden changes in mood or behavior and stressful life events can be risk factors, along with access to lethal means, such as firearms or drugs. Access to mental health treatment and feeling connected to family and community may be protective factors. Information about warning signs and risk factors is available at

For immediate help, call 988. For more information, call county Suicide Prevention Coordinator Brenda Carnese at 971-312-3085.


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