AP

National 988 mental health hotline back up after outage

Dec 2, 2022, 7:43 AM | Updated: Dec 5, 2022, 2:20 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — The nation’s 988 hotline, intended to help anyone experiencing a mental health emergency, was back up and running Friday after a daylong outage.

The call service, which was launched in July, was restored shortly before midnight on Thursday. People experiencing a mental health crisis were still able to reach a mental health counselor by texting 988 or by visiting 988lifeline.org to start a chat.

The federal government is investigating the hotline’s outage, Health and Human Services spokeswoman Sarah Lovenheim said in a tweet late Thursday night.

“While HHS and VA immediately acted to provide support to 988 callers via text, chat, and alternate numbers, the disruption of phone service was unacceptable, and HHS continues to investigate the root cause of the outage,” she tweeted, referencing the acronym for Veterans Affairs.

The Federal Communications Commission said in an emailed statement Friday that it was also investigating the outage.

The 988 hotline is a national helpline staffed with mental health counselors around the country that’s designed to be as easy to remember as the emergency line, 911. Since its launch, the hotline has fielded roughly 8,000 phone calls a day from those seeking mental health help.

The telecommunications company Intrado, based in Omaha, Nebraska, did not return repeated requests for comment. It is the largest U.S. provider of 911 services, providing the backend plumbing for emergency communication services like the 988 helpline. The company paid a $175,000 penalty in 2019 for its role in a 911 outage the previous year that lasted 65 minutes and affected nine states. The FCC said a company technician had inadvertently made a switch configuration change.

In a statement on Intrado’s website Thursday, the company said it was “working as quickly as possible to resume full service.” The outage also impacted the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Disaster Distress Helpline.

Telecoms analyst Roger Entner, of Recon Analytics, said he didn’t think there was “anything malicious” in the outage.

“Stuff like this almost always happens when an upgrade goes wrong,” Entner said. Normally, these outages occur when “they try to improve or fix something small and they break something big. That’s the most likely answer here.”

___

Associated Press writer Frank Bajak in Boston contributed to this report.

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

AP

Arizona and New York attorneys feud over extraditing suspect...

Associated Press

Why Alvin Bragg and Rachel Mitchell are fighting over extraditing suspect in New York hotel killing

Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell says she isn't into extraditing a suspect due to her lack of faith in Manhattan’s top prosecutor.

3 days ago

A Gila monster is displayed at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Dec. 14, 2018. A 34-year-old Color...

Associated Press

Colorado man dies after being bitten by pet Gila monster

A Colorado man has died after being bitten by his pet Gila monster in what would be a rare death by one of the desert lizards if the creature's venom turns out to have been the cause.

4 days ago

Police clear the area following a shooting at the Kansas City Chiefs NFL football Super Bowl celebr...

Associated Press

1 dead, many wounded after shooting at Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl victory parade

One person died after 22 people were hit by gunfire in a shooting at the end of the Kansas Chiefs' Super Bowl victory celebration Wednesday.

11 days ago

This image from House Television shows House Speaker Mike Johnson of La., banging the gavel after h...

Associated Press

GOP-led House impeaches Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas — by one vote — over border management

Having failed to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas the first time, House Republicans are determined to try again Tuesday.

12 days ago

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, right, and Kenya's Defense Minister Aden Duale, left, listen during...

Associated Press

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin hospitalized with bladder issue

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has been hospitalized following symptoms pointing to an “emergent bladder issue."

14 days ago

Joel Osteen, the pastor of Lakewood Church, stands with his wife, Victoria Osteen, as he conducts a...

Associated Press

Woman firing rifle killed by 2 off-duty officers at Houston’s Lakewood Church run by Joel Osteen

A woman entered the Texas megachurch of Joel Osteen and started shooting with a rifle Sunday and was killed by two off-duty officers.

14 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

...

Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.

National 988 mental health hotline back up after outage