New York state Sen. Samra Brouk plans to closely watch the rollout of 988 set to debut this Saturday to aid people who are facing a mental health or substance abuse crisis.
But in the long term, Brouk hopes the hotline will become the kind of commonly used, household number alongside police, fire and 911 numbers.
"We're trying to build this habit and this behavior for anyone who is feeling suicidal or a specific crisis in that moment they will dial that 988 number," Brouk said in an interview on Capital Tonight. "As years go on, as we build awareness, the hope is this truly becomes a household number."
The 988 hotline is going online as concerns over mental health have grown over the last several years. Brouk pointed to federal studies finding a mental health crisis for young people in particular. A person in crisis can call 988 or text the number to receive help.
So-called "deaths of despair" like suicides and overdoses have increased in recent years, coinciding with the COVID-19 pandemic.
"It absolutely will save lives," Brouk said of 988.
New York lawmakers have approved millions of dollars in support for the number. It's not yet known how many people will be utilizing 988 immediately.
"Our goal is for as many people as possible to be able to use it," Brouk said. "The hope is that here in New York state is we have the infrastructure to be able to get someone on the help that they need."