Didi Hirsch receives state planning grant for suicide prevention

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Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services — who’s Culver City office is located at 4760 Sepulveda Blvd. — is pleased to announce it has received the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s 988 State Planning Grant through Vibrant Emotional Health, the nonprofit administrator of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (Lifeline).

Through the grant, Didi Hirsch will participate in the development of strategic plans for California in preparation for the projected infrastructure needs, volume growth, and access to the Lifeline’s new 988 number. Vibrant has awarded grants to 49 states and territories. 

In July 2022, 988 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). Americans needing support should continue to call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) until then.

“Access to mental health and crisis support has never been more critical for Americans,” said Kimberly Williams, President and CEO of Vibrant Emotional Health. “Vibrant is committed to providing the states and territories with some of the resources they’ll need to plan for the implementation of 988 and to support their local crisis centers. By working together, we will increase access to care, reduce the stigma around mental health and, ultimately, save lives.”

Didi Hirsch will work alongside 12 other Lifeline Crisis Centers in California to develop clear roadmaps to address coordination, capacity, funding, and communications surrounding the launch of 988. Didi Hirsch will collaborate with state leadership, suicide prevention experts, people with lived experience, and others to create a 988 implementation plan and support the Lifeline’s operational, clinical, and performance standards that allow access to care. 

“We are pleased to continue serving in a leadership role on behalf of our State’s suicide prevention efforts, making it easier for Californians in emotional distress to remember and access mental health crisis services,” said Didi Hirsch’s Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Goldfinger, MD, MPH, FAAP. “Didi Hirsch experts and innovators, collaborating with 12 other centers and the Governor’s revamped behavioral health leadership, can ensure sustainable, equitable growth to meet this moment and save many more lives.

Dr. Jonathan Sherin, Director of LA County’s Department of Mental Health, said Didi Hirsch has a long history of leading regional as well as national suicide prevention initiatives and is without question the right agency for this task.

“As a longtime partner with Didi Hirsch and foundational funder for its new world-class Suicide Prevention Center, LACDMH is proud to continue working side by side to help design, develop and support the successful implementation of 988 which will not only transform crisis response but also advance our myriad justice reform initiatives across the County.”

“We are excited that the CA Department of Health Care Services was able to work with Vibrant Health to have Didi Hirsch lead this 988 planning project,” said Dr. Jim Kooler, Assistant Deputy Director, DHCS. “We have a state level leadership team eager to support the evolution of 988 in California and have high hopes for saving more lives with the improvements we will design together.”

Vibrant believes the new 988 number, once implemented, will ensure the Lifeline will continue to be America’s mental health safety net by providing emotional support for people in distress, reducing suicides and mental health crises, and providing a pathway to well-being for all.