South King County Now Offers 911, 988 & 211 Under One Roof

May 20, 2024 at 4:38 p.m.
A new program combines 911, 211 and 988 calls under one roof
A new program combines 911, 211 and 988 calls under one roof

A first-of-its-kind service that brings social services and mental health together to support 911 is now operational through Valley Communications Center and Crisis Connections to serve South King County.

According to a recent press release, this new service means faster and better help for people in South King County facing emergencies, in need of support - including navigating basic needs, or mental health challenges. When someone in crisis calls 911, dispatchers can immediately direct them to social service information specialists (211) or mental health professionals (988) who are in the same room. 

"By co-locating 988 and 211 services with 911, this program ensures seniors receive a comprehensive and holistic approach to care," says Michelle McDaniel, Chief Executive Officer of Crisis Connections. "The 211 Information & Referral Services connect seniors to essential resources, including food assistance, transportation, shelter, legal services, and support for older adults and their caregivers. Meanwhile, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline provides immediate access to trained counselors who offer supportive listening and crisis intervention for mental health concerns like emotional distress, suicidal thoughts, and substance use."

Michelle McDaniel, Chief Executive Officer of Crisis Connections 


McDaniel adds that the program streamlines these services, enabling swift assessment and routing of 911 calls to 988 for mental health needs or to 211 for essential resource support. "This approach reduces response times and bridges gaps, ensuring seniors receive prompt and appropriate assistance that addresses their mental and emotional health alongside their essential needs."

McDaniel provides an example of the program. "We have heard directly from first responders who have been dispatched to support people that it turns out would otherwise fall through the cracks. For example, a person called 911 for an ambulance, stating they had a medical emergency. When responders arrived, it turned out the caller needed transportation to the pharmacy to pick up a lifesaving medication refill. In their mind, it was an emergency, and 911 was the right call. With a diversion project, a person who calls 911 for this need could be connected to 211 for resources to support their transportation and critical health need, saving time and emergency services."

What are the key benefits?

    Better and Appropriate Response: Calls are quickly directed to the appropriate service, whether it's fire, medical, or police emergency response, mental health counseling, or access to community resources.

    Comprehensive Support: The initiative bridges the gap between emergency services and community support, ensuring individuals receive holistic care tailored to their specific needs.

    Streamlined Services: The co-location of 911, 988, and 211 operations facilitates better communication and coordination among service providers, leading to improved outcomes for community members and frees up emergency services to focus on the most urgent needs.

    Expanded Community Trust: This collaboration aims to build safety and trust with marginalized populations accessing emergency services and mental health support.


What is the 988/911/211 Call Diversion project?

The 911/988/211 Call Diversion project refers to the integration of emergency response services (911) with crisis intervention services (988) and health and human services (211) in a shared or co-located facility. This aims to provide a more comprehensive and coordinated response to emergencies, mental health crises and essential needs support.

What is 988?

The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, previously known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, offers 24/7 call, text and chat access to trained crisis counselors who can help people experiencing suicidal, substance use, and/or mental health crisis, or any other kind of emotional distress. People can also call, text or chat 988 if they are worried about a loved one who may need crisis support.

What is 211?

211 Information & Referral Services connect people to essential health and human services. Specialists assess an individual’s unique situation and provide information & referrals, advocacy, and problem-solving assistance. Essential needs include food resources and EBT application assistance; rent, move-in and utility payment assistance; civil legal services; shelter & low-income housing resources; transportation; support for older adults and adults with disabilities; care coordination and so much more.

Why combine 988, 911, and 211 services in the same building?

Integrating 911, 988 and 211 services enhance the overall response to emergencies involving mental health crises and essential needs assistance. It ensures that individuals in crisis receive appropriate care and support from emergency responders, mental health professionals and health and human services providers. Including 211 services in the Diversion Program provides a critical link to health & human services information and referral, ensuring individuals receive immediate crisis intervention and access to ongoing support and resources tailored to their specific needs.

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