NEW ORLEANS (WGNO)— A new National hotline number will be available for mental health issues starting on Saturday.

It is easy to remember, just three numbers and it could be a lifeline in a mental health crisis.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “988” will make its official debut on July 16th. Currently, if you dial “988,” it’ll be transferred to the already existing National Suicide Hotline.

“It is easier to remember, 988 just like 911, instead of a 10-digit number in a crisis that’s just hard,” Dione Joseph-Breckenridge, School-based Clinician Manager with DePaul Community Health Center said.

“988” will be the new suicide prevention hotline number for people in need.

“It will help someone really in need or someone who’s trying to help someone in need,” she said.

Dione Joseph-Breckenridge with DePaul Community Health Center says right now many call 911 and overwhelm 911 Call Centers when they are having a mental health crisis. The new “988” will help funnel those calls.

Statistics show nearly half a million people committed suicide over the last ten years, so this new “988” will be very helpful.

“The need is great, everyone is under lots of pressure, we had people isolated during COVID-19, people are struggling financially and emotionally,” she said.

She went on to say, “People are just on edge, so mental health services are needed now more than ever.”

If you dial the current suicide hotline number, which is 1-800-273-8255, that will stay operational even when 988 goes into effect.

If you have a non-emergency and need clinic services at DePaul Community Health Center, call 504-207-3067.

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards commented on the new hotline, saying:

“It is so important that we have resources in place to help people when they need it most and having a lifeline like this one is vital. Tragically, Louisiana experienced more than 600 suicides in 2020 and nationally there is a death by suicide every 11 minutes. This is a serious problem and being able to text or chat with a trained and compassionate crisis counselor who can listen, provide support and connect people with local resources is going to make it easier for anyone to receive assistance during a mental health crisis. There is never any shame in reaching out for help and everyone needs help at some point in their lives. This is a very safe place to get that support.”