Who do you call for help? LA County starts PSA campaign on emergency service phone numbers

The Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health and several other agencies launched a campaign Friday to educate the public on the differences between the county's emergency and resource phone numbers.

The Who Do I Call for Help? campaign defines what each phone number and its associated agency can provide when called.

"When people are facing a crisis, one size does not fit all," county Supervisor Janice Hahn said in a statement. "We want people to know that there is someone they can call who can step in and provide the right help at the right time."

Materials for the campaign include social media graphics, posters, bookmarks and wallet-size cards. The campaign breaks down the following phone numbers:

  • 911: to report crimes, fires and medical emergencies when law enforcement, firefighters or paramedics are needed;
  • 988: to get support with suicidal crisis or mental health-related distress;
  • 211: for general information on local resources or linkages and referrals to health, human and social services; and
  • 800-854-7771: for crisis response teams in the field or mental health resources through the 24/7 LACDMH help line.

"Through the Who Do I Call for Help? campaign, we want residents to know the county has a variety of appropriate resources available to assist in emergencies and for critical needs, especially for those who require specialized mental health-related responses," LACDMH director Dr. Lisa H. Wong said.

"By diverting mental health-related calls from 9-1-1 to 9-8-8 and our 24/7 LACDMH Help Line, we can offer alternative crisis response services that are delivered by civilian, non-law enforcement providers."

The campaign was launched in collaboration with the L.A. County Fire Department, the L.A. Sheriff's Department, the Los Angeles Police Department and Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services.

"Working to connect our community with the most appropriate service provider is crucial for ensuring that someone experiencing a mental health crisis gets the help that best serves them," said Interim LAPD Chief Dominic Choi.

"As year-to-date, we have already diverted 661 calls to 9-8-8 and our co-response program with LACDMH has handled 2,283 LAPD cases. I am confident that the program will ensure that the community receives the support they need promptly and effectively."

For more information on the campaign, residents are urged to visit LACDMH's website at https://dmh.lacounty.gov/resources/who-to-call-for-help/.