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New research shows callers may not contact 988 again. ABC-7 checked in with a Borderland center.

EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- Since 988 launched last year, more than 6.5 million calls, texts and chats have come into the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. While the point of the three-digit number is to offer a direct access point to getting critical support -- new research published today claims that many would hesitate to contact it again.

This information was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Network, and researchers found that those with psychological distress are more likely to have heard of 988 and contacted it.

However, a smaller number of the people involved with the research said they would turn to 988 again for a mental health crisis. The research states "[a]pproximately 1 in 20 respondents with serious distress had used the 988 Lifeline, but only about one-third of these users were very likely to use it in the future."

Over 4,900 people nationwide responded to the research, according to the .. The mean age of respondents was 48, and more women responded than men. About 390 people were considered in serious distress, the smallest category.

"Among the 23 respondents with serious distress who had used the 988 Lifeline, only 7 (29.0%) were very likely to use it in the future," results of the research state.

For others involved in the research, "a slightly smaller proportion of respondents with serious distress than no distress reported being very likely to use 988 in the future."

The study authors did note some limitations on this research, including the representativeness of the sample -- and whether it is "generalizable to all US adults."

"Additionally, 988 Lifeline implementation has varied between states and state-level analyses were not conducted," the study discussion states. "Despite these limitations, there is a need for more research about satisfaction with the 988 Lifeline among people with serious distress and the extent to which the 988 Lifeline, and the resources it connects users to, meets their needs."

Avery Martinez covers mental health in the Borderland as part of ABC-7’s Be Mindful initiative. He is also a Report for America corps member. RFA places talented, emerging journalists in newsrooms like ABC-7’s to report on under-covered issues and communities. Report for America is an initiative of The GroundTruth Project, an award-winning nonprofit journalism organization dedicated to rebuilding journalism from the ground up.

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