PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- The calls roll in, one after another, about 700 a day and 20,000 a month.

Counselors at the Solari Crisis Call Center in Tempe work around the clock helping people with mental health issues.

Justin Chase is President of Solari Crisis and Human Services. "We're hearing everything from concerns about depression, anxiety related to rental assistance challenges, and food security," said Chase. "Employment issues are a huge issue people are facing now. The life stresses are stacking."

Mental health is a serious problem that's starting to get more attention and more financial resources.

A new mental health and suicide prevention hotline is being created across the country, and it will work just like 911. Callers in crisis can dial 9-8-8 and immediately be routed to mental health care providers in their community.

"It's going to be a game-changer," said Chase. "It's going to be an opportunity for folks to have easy access to a 3 digit dialing option to get to suicide and crisis-related resources across the country.'

The new 9-8-8 number will also have an impact on dozens of area codes. Callers in 90 area codes in 35 states will soon have to dial all ten numbers when making a local call.

Arizona area codes 480, 928 and 520 are among those impacted, which means you must include the area code in your call.

"If it's for local calls, it is a little tedious," said Greg Danielyan. "I don't mind."

"All of my contacts are already in with the area code in my phone, so I think I'm already all set to go with that change," said Jamie Upchurch.

The new 9-8-8 system is expected to be up and running by next summer, but the area code changes start Sunday. Phoenix's 602 area code will not be affected by the change. Neither will area code 623.

Copyright 2021 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


Recommended for you