Human Services Department announces the 988 crisis support line implemented resources to better serve LGBTQIA+ Youth
New Mexicans now have the option to press 3 after dialing 988 to connect to LGBTQIA+ affirming behavioral health professionals
SANTA FE — Today, The New Mexico Human Services Department (HSD) announced it is working to help build awareness about the 988 crisis support line resources to meet the needs of New Mexico’s LGBTQIA+ communities.
In late 2022, the 988 crisis support line integrated specialized, inclusive, emotional and crisis care support services to better serve the LGBTQIA+ community. The program is a pilot project of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline supported by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Association and in collaboration with The Trevor Project, a suicide prevention group for LGBTQIA+ young people.
LGBTQIA+ youth who contact the 988 Lifeline via phone, text, or chat have the option of being connected with a specially trained, LGBTQIA-competent mental health peer by phone 24/7, and via text and chat during the hours of 5 p.m. to 4 a.m. MT daily.
“Linking those in need to compassionate and effective care by expanding access to affirming support for LGBTQIA+ youth is a key step in saving lives, decreasing stigma, rejection, trauma, victimization, microaggressions, homophobia and transphobia,” said Neal Bowen, PhD., HSD’s Director of Behavioral Health Services. “In our early 988 community listening sessions, we heard loud and clear that LGBTQIA+ communities across New Mexico want to know they can trust and count on a safe and supportive crisis response to improve, not worsen the situation — Now they can.”
An estimated 85,388 New Mexico adults, or 5.2 percent of the population identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or other, while 13,137 or 0.8 percent identify as transgender or gender non-conforming, according to data from the New Mexico Department of Health’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.
Approximately 21,300, or 19.2 percent of High School youth in New Mexico identify as LGBTQIA+, according to a 2019 Youth Risk and Resiliency Survey. Data also shows LGBTQIA+ youth are more than four times as likely to attempt suicide or engage in self-harm compared to their straight, cisgender peers. LGBTQIA+ adults are also at greater risk of suicide.
HSD encourages those in need of emotional support to call, text or chat 988. Since the inception of the crisis support line in July 2022, people reaching out for help via chat have been able to connect to a behavioral health professional in New Mexico 99 percent of the time, and those reaching out via text have been able to connect 100 percent of the time. 88 percent of the calls have been answered in state by New Mexico mental health peers.
If you or a loved one is experiencing feelings of hopelessness, mental or emotional distress, or need help finding local community services, call or text 988, the crisis support line.
For 988 resources for the LGBTQIA+ communities, visit 988nm.org
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