State announces suicide prevention number change, funds for youth mental health

Published 9:46 am Monday, May 9, 2022

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The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services recently announced two initiatives regarding mental health in the state. 

NCDHHS was recently awarded $3.3 million from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration to expand support for people in mental health crisis. The funding will help North Carolina transition the Suicide Prevention Lifeline from the current 10-digit number to an easier, three-digit number (9-8-8) for people having suicidal thoughts or experiencing a mental health crisis. 

On July 16, 2022, 9-8-8 will become the national three-digit dialing code for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, replacing the current phone number of 1-800-273-TALK (8255). People can talk, chat or text with trained call center staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year. Call center staff can provide crisis counseling along with information on local community resources and referrals. 

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For more information about the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, visit 

Gov. Cooper has directed $34 million in new federal funding to further support postsecondary students in completing their degree or credential and to help address K-12 student learning and mental health needs as students continue to recover from the pandemic. 

The governor is investing $27 million in creating the Summer Accelerator grant program. The program will provide grants up to $5,000 to cover tuition, fees, books, housing and other expenses based on the number of summer courses a student is taking. 

The package also includes $5 million to NCDHHS to expand Youth Mental Health First Aid training, which teaches adults who work with youth, including teachers and school staff, how to identify and support youth ages 12-18 who are experiencing mental health and substance use challenges, and how to help in crisis situations. 

More details are available at