Douglas Emhoff tours 988 call center for mental health

Dec 15, 2022, 1:01 PM | Updated: Dec 17, 2022, 2:53 am
FILE - Doug Emhoff, the husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, speaks during a roundtable discuss...

FILE - Doug Emhoff, the husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, speaks during a roundtable discussion with Jewish leaders about the rise in antisemitism and efforts to fight hate in the United States in the Indian Treaty Room in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House Campus in Washington, Dec. 7, 2022. Emhoff on Friday. Dec. 16, visited a 988 call center that's part of the recently launched national hotline intended to help anyone experiencing a mental health emergency. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Douglas Emhoff, the husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, on Friday visited a 988 call center that’s part of the recently launched national hotline intended to help anyone experiencing a mental health emergency.

Emhoff, who has spoken out on the importance of mental health for adults and children, and who last week addressed the pain of rising antisemitism, met with crisis counselors and call center operators in Hyattsville, Maryland.

“Instead of calling 911 for emergency, we need to get everyone to know that it’s 988 for any issue that revolve around mental health or suicidal ideation or those feelings of being alone,” said Emhoff. He noted that the average hold time on calls is 32 seconds.

The Biden administration wants to highlight the 988 helpline as a support system, particularly as the holiday season often brings up feelings of stress, anxiety and depression.

Emhoff’s visit comes as the entertainment industry reels from the suicide this week of Stephen “tWitch” Boss, the longtime and beloved dancing DJ on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” Boss, a former contestant on “So You Think You Can Dance,” was 40 years old.

“We think it’s important that we shed light on the resources available to any American dealing with mental health challenges or emotional distress,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Thursday after noting Boss’ death.

The 988 helpline, launched in July, is staffed with mental health counselors around the country and was designed to be as easy to remember as the emergency line, 911. Those needing help can call or text.

The Biden administration has handed out more than $130 million in grants for 988 this month and invested more than $432 million to get the hotline up and running.

Eventually, officials envision 988 operators being able to dispatch mobile mental health crisis teams to people’s homes and creating emergency mental health centers that are similar to urgent care clinics for physical aches and pains. But states need more funding and time to make that happen.

The new 988 system builds on the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, an existing network of more than 200 crisis centers nationwide staffed by counselors who answer millions of calls each year. Calls to the old lifeline, at 800-273-8255, will still go through even with 988 in place.

The 988 system weeks ago suffered a daylong outage, which is under investigation.

___

The national suicide and crisis lifeline is available by calling or texting 988. There is also an online chat at 988lifeline.org.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - Zoubin Ghahramani, vice president of research at Google, speaks at the Google AI@ event on W...
Associated Press

Google has the next move as Microsoft embraces OpenAI buzz

Before the artificial intelligence tool ChatGPT was unleashed into the world, the novelist Robin Sloan was testing a similar AI writing assistant built by researchers at Google.
13 hours ago
budgets...
Associated Press

Group’s lawsuit seeks to void Washington transportation law

A conservative legal advocacy organization is suing to halt the nearly $17 billion transportation funding bill passed by the Washington Legislature and signed by Gov. Jay Inslee last year.
13 hours ago
Cricket Hall speaks against a bill that would ban gender-affirming surgery and hormone therapy for ...
Associated Press

Crowds decry gender-affirming treatment ban in West Virginia

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Crowds at the West Virginia state Capitol pleaded with lawmakers Thursday to show as much compassion for saving the lives of transgender children as they showed for unborn fetuses when they voted to ban abortion just months ago. Over and over, dozens of doctors, parents and LGBTQ people told the Republican […]
2 days ago
FILE - President Joe Biden holds notes as he meets with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the ...
Associated Press

Biden’s handwritten notes part of classified docs probe

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is a man who writes down his thoughts. And some of those handwritten musings over his decades of public service are now a part of a special counsel’s investigation into the handling of classified documents. It isn’t clear yet what the investigators are looking for by taking custody of […]
2 days ago
FILE - President Joe Biden talks with reporters after speaking in the East Room of the White House ...
Associated Press

Biden’s handwritten notes part of classified docs probe

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is a man who writes down his thoughts. And some of those handwritten musings over his decades of public service are now a part of a special counsel’s investigation into the handling of classified documents. It isn’t clear yet what the investigators are looking for by taking custody of […]
2 days ago
Associated Press

Dana Milbank’s ‘Fools On the Hill’ scheduled for 2024

NEW YORK (AP) — Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank is planning a book on the House of Representatives, and it will not be flattering. Little, Brown and Company announced Thursday that Milbank’s “Fools on the Hill” is scheduled for 2024, an election year. Milbank, whose previous books include “Smash Mouth: Two Years in the Gutter […]
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Douglas Emhoff tours 988 call center for mental health