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Hawaii DOH launches hotlines for mental health, suicide crisis

In an effort to keep pace with Hawaii’s growing need to mental health services, the state Department of Health is launching new suicide and mental health hotlines.

DOH’s Adult Mental Health Division is now offering two separate phone lines: One is a crisis line to help people contemplating suicide, and the other is an eligibility line to help connect people with government-sponsored mental health services. 

Previously, the statewide ACCESS line, established in 2002, served both purposes. 

According to a news release, the department decided to offer two separate lines after reviewing how to address both needs. 

Some 20 percent of 75,000 calls answered by the ACCESS line last year involved crisis intervention, according to the release. 

The suicide hotline, dubbed Crisis Line of Hawaii, launched Wednesday. 

“This new phone line is strictly dedicated to helping individuals who are facing crises,” said Steven Balcom, the department’s crisis and residential treatment services coordinator. “To ensure easy access, we have renamed the ACCESS Line the Crisis Line of Hawaii. This reflects our renewed focus on our program’s primary mission of providing crisis support to the community.”

The hotline is staffed 24 hours a day. 

The DOH says suicide is the most common cause of fatal injuries for Hawaii residents, outpacing car crashes, murders and drownings.

The name of the suicide prevention and counseling line has changed, but the phone number is the same. On Oahu, it’s 832-3100. 

Neighbor island residents may call toll free at 1-800-753-6879. 

The number for the new eligibility line is 643-AMHD.

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