As 988 centers struggle to hire, burnout plagues some crisis staff

February 1, 2024

Mosby had been working at Carelon Behavioral Health, one of the new 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline hotline centers in New Hampshire, for two months. When Mosby started the job in January 2023, she said she was enthusiastic. After 25 years working in the mental health industry as a prison behavioral health specialist, substance abuse counselor and mobile crisis responder, she knew how dire the crisis was. But quickly, she said she felt overwhelmed. Callers were in such severe distress, she told ABC News. Call after call, Mosby said she began to feel a discomfort set in that she couldn't shake.

Now, some 988 workers such as Mosby -- who were already in significant shortage -- say they're burning out and leaving the job. Data obtained by ABC News found that, in some states such as Oklahoma and Colorado, more than one-third of employees left within months of taking their first call.

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