Crisis Response - Jan 10, 2023

Cries for help pour into 988 mental health, suicide line

988 Call Center Director Jamieson Brill poses for a photo in front of a desk where work workers take calls around the clock at a facility in Hyattsville, Md., Oct. 7, 2022. Brill works in one of more than 200 call centers fanned out around the country tasked with answering an uptick in calls around the clock from people considering suicide or experiencing a mental health emergency. (AP Photo/Amanda Seitz)

HYATTSVILLE, Md. (AP) — When Jamieson Brill answers a crisis call from a Spanish speaker on the newly launched national 988 mental health helpline, he rarely mentions the word suicide, or “suicidio”

Brill, whose family hails from Puerto Rico, knows that just discussing the term in some Spanish-speaking cultures is so frowned upon that many callers are too scared to even admit that they’re calling for themselves.

“However strong stigma around mental health concerns is in English-speaking cultures, in Spanish-speaking cultures it is triple that,” said Brill, who helps people navigate mental health crises from a tiny brick building tucked away in Hyattsville, Maryland.

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