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New 9-8-8 Line is a Resource During Holiday Season

This is the first holiday season since the line has been fully operational

In the Community

Photo by Joshua Woroniecki:

The New Year and holiday season is often a source of stress and contention for many. Financial concerns, family strain and concerns about health and travel are just some of the reasons that this time of year can elicit an increase in negative feelings.

In fact, the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) reports that 64% of people living with mental illness feel that their symptoms worsen during the holidays.

A second study from NAMI suggests that 3 out of 5 adults feel that their mental health generally worsens around the holidays.

But no one needs a mental health diagnosis to feel the strain of the holiday season.

Heather Newton, CEO of NAMI Rochester said It’s important to have the 9-8-8 line as a resource during the holidays, but that it is the perfect resource for anyone to reach out at any time.

The American Psychology Association recently issued a report that indicates that 41% of Americans will feel increased worry surrounding the holidays, and approximately one third of Americans will feel more stress and anxiety than they did in 2021.

Mental health advocates in our region want to remind residents that new resources are available to help them cope during the holiday season—and year round. Thanks to legislation sponsored by Senator Samra Brouk, New York became one of a handful of states to fully implement a three digit 9-8-8 support line for mental health and substance use emergencies earlier this year.

“It’s no secret that concerns surrounding mental health and support have increased following the pandemic,” Brouk said. “At a time of year that can be difficult for so many, I’m proud of the resources we have available in our region, and I am hopeful that this line can help connect our neighbors to the compassionate care and support they need.”

Brouk’s advocacy on this topic also resulted in a 35 million dollar investment from the state earlier this year to ensure that the line was fully staffed and operational.

The line, which can be called or texted, is staffed and operated locally. Goodwill of the Finger Lakes, who already operates the region’s 2-1-1 line, operates the 9-8-8 line with local staff who are trained and familiarized with the resources available in the Greater Rochester Area. The 9-8-8 line is accessible 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Many struggle too – and often in silence said Jen Lake, President and CEO of Goodwill of the Finger Lakes, Jen Lake. She said her team is trained to listen and have compassionate conversations so those who call the line don’t feel alone, feel supported during their time of crisis. “We are here 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and if you need us, our 988 team will be available to help you,” she said.

“Thanks to Senator Brouk, we are fortunate to have 988 as a resource for anyone who may be struggling with symptoms related to mental health,” Sara Taylor, Founder of BIPOC PEEEEEEK said.

“Don’t suffer silently—pick up the phone and call 988.”