Montgomery County Behavioral health & Suicide Prevention Task Force Promotes Awareness Of '988' Lifeline For Suicide And Crisis Assistance

By: Liz Grimm
| Published 09/19/2023


THE WOODLANDS, TX -- September is Suicide Prevention Month, and the Behavioral Health & Suicide Prevention (BHSP) Community Task Force in Montgomery County wants everyone to be aware of the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.

According to the BHSP Task Force, suicide attempts are spiking around the world. Taking one’s life is the second-leading cause of death for 10- to 35-year-olds in the United States, and continues to increase.

The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, similar to dialing 911 for emergencies, is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people experiencing suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, seven days a week, across the United States. The national network is comprised of over 200 local crisis centers, combining custom local care and resources with national standards and best practices.

While the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline was implemented a year ago nationwide as a universal response to coordinating a system of care for everyone, many are unaware of it throughout Montgomery County.

“Often when an individual is experiencing a mental health crisis, the pain is so intense that their ability to focus is very narrow because they just want it to stop. People don’t necessarily want to end their life; they are just desperate to stop the pain,” explained Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Judge Wayne Mack, who created and oversees the BHSP Task Force, a 100% volunteer-based group. “Calling 988 can help in that deep state of despair. They insert light in that desperate moment. These crisis coordinators provide a short-term response that can talk you through the challenge and provide resources for long-term help.”

BHSP Task Force volunteer and coordinator John Tindall, who is a Community Outreach Specialist with the Montgomery County Public Health District, noted the 988 service is also helpful for someone who wants to assist a friend or family member who is struggling and going through a difficult time, perhaps expressing they do not want to live anymore. “When you realize someone is having a brain health event, you might feel as if you don’t know what to do, where to turn, or who to ask, but 988 does,” said Tindall. “If you’re concerned about someone, it’s okay to simply ask, ‘Are you okay?’ However, if someone is in imminent danger, you should call 911.”

The Montgomery County Behavioral Health & Suicide Prevention Task Force is a volunteer-based organization working to reduce the stigma of mental health and prevent deaths by suicide in Montgomery and neighboring counties. It was formed by Judge Mack in 2020 as a collaboration of community partners which include governmental entities, schools, hospitals, behavioral health organizations, churches, veterans organizations, first responders, businesses, and non-profits.

“The community has overwhelmingly supported our Task Force,” said Judge Mack. “We are so appreciative of all the volunteers working collaboratively and the support of the businesses, especially Howard Hughes. They supported us from day one and continue to support us today. Here is this major company that cares so much about our community and inspires others to get involved. We are so thankful for what they and our other partners give back to our community in support of suicide prevention.”

The 988 Lifeline also has a specialized line for veterans and offers a Spanish-language option.

To find help with navigating mental health resources in Montgomery County, visit the Behavioral Health & Suicide Prevention Community Task Force website at or Facebook page at, or email

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