SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The Helpline Center has received over 2,800 calls, texts, and chats since the new 988 number launched in July.
The three-digit number is a resource for people in suicide crisis or those struggling with mental health or substance abuse.
The holidays are often thought of as a time for joy, but it may not feel that way for everyone.
Kendall Ward is a 988 crisis counselor at the Helpline Center.
“We’ve had a huge influx in people just struggling over the holidays. A lot of people struggling with isolation, not being able to make it home for the holidays due to the storm, just a lot of situational things that are coming up that are creating a lot more calls for people that are being alone for Christmas,” 988 crisis counselor Kendall Ward said.
While Ward and other staff are picking up holiday-related calls now, an increase in call volume typically comes right after the holidays into January.
“What we see from our call volume is that sometimes people are able to kind of make it through the holidays, but it’s right after the holidays that people really begin to feel the whole weight of what has happened,” Helpline Center CEO Janet Kittams said.
Kittams say part of that increase is related to the dreary winter weather and people being more isolated.
No matter when or why you may be struggling, Ward wants you to know support is available around the clock.
“It can be really difficult to reach out and admit you’re struggling or admit that you’re alone sometimes and so I think if I could say anything to anybody it would just be to be brave, to reach out, and to find some connection with somebody, even if it’s just a stranger on the phone and we’d love to be there for you,” Ward said.
If you or someone you know is struggling or having thoughts of suicide, call 988.