Local Mental Health Advocates Work To Understand Experience Of Women In Crisis

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

The new three-digit number for mental health, substance use and suicide crises, 988, became available across the country on July 16 to call or text during a crisis. When a person calls or texts 988, they will be connected to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline network, made up of around 200 crisis call centers and national backup centers. 

It took two years of dedicated work leading up to this day. The availability of 988 is a step to helping people in crisis and their families – but the work to improve the full crisis response system is only beginning.  

While everyone will now have access to the Lifeline via 988, this does not mean that a full continuum of effective crisis services are available to everyone in the community.

"We know that not every crisis can be resolved over the phone," said Eve Nite, co-founder and executive director of Crisis Intervention Team Connect. "Additionally, what services are available and accessible to individuals in crisis varies from community to community, even within our greater Chattanooga area. There are significant barriers to care that prevent individuals from getting the mental health care and supportive services they need."

In the city of Chattanooga’s Resident Input for the FY2022 Budget, the leading concern residents had related to the Safer Streets priority area is a need for more mental health crisis resources. Approximately 36 percent of residents who shared what they thought were key issues related to safer streets highlighted this as a top issue.  

"The advent of 988 is only the beginning and should be a push for expanded advocacy to ensure quality, comprehensive crisis services for every individual," said Ms. Nite. "In order to advocate for change, we first must get a clear picture of the experience of individuals in mental health crisis in our communities."  

The mental health subcommittee of the Chattanooga Mayor’s Council on Women is conducting an anonymous survey of the experiences of women in mental health crisis, as well as women caregivers of those in mental health crisis, in the area.  

The information gained from this survey will be used to get a collective picture of the experience of women in Chattanooga who have experienced a mental health crisis. The survey information will be compiled in a report with recommendations. Individuals can complete the survey here: https://tinyurl.com/WomenInCrisisSurvey

For assistance finding mental health resources, please email namichattanooga@gmail.com or call the NAMI Chattanooga Helpline at 521-2590. If you are currently in a mental health crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988. 


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