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Mental Health Hotline Launched


Liberty, NY – Come Saturday, July 16, there’s a new number that could be as important as 911 to remember: 988.

“Every county in New York State, including Sullivan, will now offer this literal lifeline to crucial mental health crisis supports, including for those who are experiencing thoughts of suicide,” explained John Liddle, Sullivan County’s Commissioner of the Division of Health & Human Services. “Dialing those simple three digits will connect callers to a trained crisis counselor who can immediately address their needs, 24/7/365.”

“We’ll be working with Dutchess County – who hosts the staffed call center – to implement this much-needed service,” added Community Services Director Melissa Stickle, who oversees mental health services in the Division. “We have had substantial communication with them in preparation for this, and they will be connecting Sullivan County persons in need with local resources to the maximum extent possible.”

“When the Dutchess County 988 operators see a need for fire, police, or EMS to be dispatched in Sullivan County, they will coordinate with our E-911 center to ensure the closest available assets are dispatched as quickly as possible,” noted Public Safety Commissioner Tom Farney. “People should also continue to feel welcome to call 911 if a life-threatening emergency is at hand.”

The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline and its chat-based counterpart,, will be able to:

• Connect people experiencing a mental health or substance use crisis to a trained counselor who can address their immediate needs and help connect them to ongoing care.

• Reduce health care spending with more cost-effective early intervention.

• Reduce use of law enforcement, public health, and other safety resources.

• Meet the growing need for crisis intervention.

• Help end stigma toward those seeking or accessing mental healthcare.