CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) shares what to expect when dialing 988, a new crisis hotline for mental health emergencies.

The United States’ first nationwide three-digit mental health crisis hotline went live on Saturday, June 16 and is meant to be as easy to remember and use as 911, according to the Associated Press. They say dispatchers will connect callers with trained mental health counselors, instead of sending police, firefighters or paramedics.

According to their website, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, formally known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, is a free, 24/7 hotline for people experiencing mental health emergencies.

In a video posted by the WV DHHR, they say you will be greeted by an automated message. They say the message will ask you to press “1” on your phone’s keypad for the Veterans Crisis Line or press “2” for Spanish.

They say there will be a brief hold while you are being connected to a crisis counselor and to not hang up.

The video says the trained crisis counselor will:

  • Listen
  • Support
  • Share resources if needed

The video is ended with the message, “There is Hope,” and “Talk with Us.”

The old hotline number, 1-800-273-8255 or 1-800-273-TALK, can still be used.