Zak Williams (son of the late Robin Williams, mental health advocate, Call For Help Podcast) discusses the benefits and challenges of the new 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline (formerly known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline). He talks openly about the struggles he faced after the loss of his father, including self-medication with alcohol, PTSD, generalized anxiety disorder, and depression. Zak and Mayim break down the complexities of death by suicide, public mourning, and the clinical symptoms of PTSD. They explain why law enforcement isn’t always the most well-suited to respond to mental health crisis calls and why individuals in the prison system may not always get the mental health support they need. Jonathan opens up about the survivor’s guilt he faced after his brother’s near fatal car accident, and how the trauma of the event altered his family dynamics.
As of July 16, there’s a new three digit option in town: 988, a 24/7 hotline specifically designed to handle mental health crises. In theory, it’s an opportunity to reimagine what crisis response looks like in America, connecting callers in need to comprehensive mental health, substance use, and suicidal crises services including 24/7 local call centers, mobile crisis teams, and stabilization options. In reality, most states aren’t ready. Call for Help looks at the promise and the perils of 988.