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Journal Article


Roth KB, Szlyk HS. Adm. Policy Ment. Health 2020; ePub(ePub): ePub.


(Copyright © 2020, Holtzbrinck Springer Nature Publishing Group)






Crisis hotlines are a fixture in providing mental health services to individuals experiencing mental and behavioral problems in the United States (U.S.). Despite this, and the growing need for easily-accessible, anonymous, and free services amidst the suicide and opioid crises, there is no study reporting U.S. national prevalence and correlates of hotline use. Data on nā€‰=ā€‰18,909 participants from the Collaborative Psychiatric Epidemiology Surveys (CPES), a group of three nationally-representative, population-based studies, were used to estimate the prevalence of lifetime and past 12-month hotline use. A series of logistic regression models examined sociodemographic, clinical history and service use correlates of hotline use. Lifetime and past 12-month hotline use was estimated at 2.5% and 0.5%, respectively. Being female, having a mental or behavioral disorder, experiencing suicidality, or interacting with other formal and informal sectors of the mental health service system were significant correlates of use. This study provides the first national estimates of crisis hotline usage in the U.S. Hotlines are more likely to be used by certain sociodemographic subgroups, but these differences may be due to differing psychiatric history and service use patterns. Efforts should be made to ensure that crisis hotlines are being utilized by other marginalized populations at high risk of suicide or overdose amidst the current public health crises in the U.S., such as racial/ethnic minorities or youth. To evaluate the role that crisis hotlines play in the mental health service system, national surveys should aim to monitor trends and correlates over time.

Language: en


Epidemiology; Suicidality; Crisis hotlines; Mental disorders; Mental health services


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