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caption: A Crisis Connections phone worker answers a call.
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A Crisis Connections phone worker answers a call.
Credit: KUOW Photo / Noel Gasca

How is the rollout of 988 going in Washington state?

The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline launched just over a week ago.

Mental health advocates hope that 988 will make it easier for people nationwide to get support when they're in the middle of a crisis.

But streamlining a patchwork of response systems hasn't been a seamless process.

KUOW's Soundside spoke to Seattle Times mental health reporter Esmy Jimenez about the rollout of 988 in Washington state.

A 988 crisis call specialist sounds off

You might be wondering about the people who pick up those calls.

Kai Cuevas, a 988 crisis call specialist, said that since taking on this new job with 988, he sees people a lot differently.

"These are just regular people in your everyday life calling. And I look around at people, and it really just further drilled into my head that you never know what somebody's going through," Cuevas said. "And that's why you always have to prioritize kindness and respect."

The person you see at Starbucks, or the person you walk by on the street may be calling 988 later for help, Cuevas added, or they might have called yesterday.

caption: Kai Cuevas is a 988 crisis call specialist.
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Kai Cuevas is a 988 crisis call specialist.
Credit: KUOW Photo / Noel Gasca