Chesco set to activate 988 mental health crisis line

Beginning Saturday, July 16, Chester County is joining with communities across the nation, introducing “988” as the direct phone connection support for anyone experiencing mental health-related distress.

Chester County sees the implementation of the new 988 call option as a first step towards a transformed crisis care system and is seeking feedback through two online surveys to better inform the County’s crisis care system: A Youth Mental Health Survey for parents/guardians, teachers, counselors, health professionals, and most importantly, young people; and an Adult Mental Health Survey for individuals who recently experienced the mental health crisis response system, as well as members of law enforcement, emergency medical services (EMS) personnel, homeless providers, health professionals and others.

“Moving to the three-digit 988 phone number gives us the opportunity to strengthen our existing suicide prevention hotline service, and to expand the crisis care system that provides direct, life-saving service for all in need,” said Pat Bokovitz, Director of the Chester County Department of Human Services.

“Data from both the Adult and Youth Mental Health survey will be used to ensure our mental health crisis system can better meet the needs of our Chester County residents,” added Bokovitz.

The Adult and Youth Mental Health surveys are brief, anonymous, and available online at

Once the survey results are concluded, they will be shared with a planning committee that includes representatives from the Chester County Department of Emergency Services, NAMI, Chester County first responder organizations, West Chester University, Main Line Health, and Chester County’s Departments of Health, Human Services, Community Development, Mental Health/IDD, Probation Services, and Drug & Alcohol Services.  The District Attorney and CEOs of Chester County Hospital, Alliance for Health Equity, Phoenixville Community Health Foundation, and Chester County Intermediate Unit are also part of the planning committee, as well as peer recovery specialists and people with personal experience with the County’s current mental health system.

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