SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — On July 16 the 211 Helpline center will be joining the national 988 crisis line.

This new number will be specifically for people, families and communities who are in crisis here in South Dakota.

“So, there are crisis centers across the country that will be activating 988,” Janet Kittams, CEO of South Dakota 211 Helpline, said. “For South Dakota, we are the only certified crisis center in the state so we will be answering all the phone calls from residents in South Dakota.”

This new number is for anyone who is having thoughts of suicide or struggling with their mental health or substance use disorder. 

“It is an easy-to-remember number for a time when people are struggling in crisis,” Kittams said. “There was a 1-800 number previously and that was just a difficult number for people to remember when they are really in a time of need, so 988 is easy to recognize and it is like 911.”

The 211 Helpline Center has been preparing for the change for a year.

“We have added many added staff to help answer that line,” Kittams said. “We have added staff that has higher levels of degrees, master’s degrees in social work, counseling more behavioral health focus.”

This 988-crisis line will be available 24/7 for anyone in need. 

“You can call, text or chat 988 and that will all start on July 16 when you call that number you will receive a national message, but it will be routed to your local crisis center,” Kittams said.