OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (KFOR) – In Oklahoma, the 988 mental health lifeline is entering its second year of operation. In the first year, they received more than 40,000 thousand calls.
Zachary Blackowl called 988 in July of 2022 after his mother died of cancer earlier that year.
“When mother’s day hit, I kind of fell into the deep depression because, you know, I was close to my mom. She was my best friend. She was my role model, you know, and my everything,” said Zachary Blackowl, who called 988.
He said it was a hard year trying to look like he had it altogether.
“I just got to a new low. I remember waking up on her birthday and probably for like an hour and a half, and I just immediately was crying my eyes out all by myself in my room and I couldn’t even get out of bed,” said Blackowl.
That’s when he tried to look for resources to help.
“I saw an ad for a new mental health resource in Oklahoma that’s 24-7. You can just call it and someone can connect you with somebody trained to help you.” said Blackowl.
So, Zachary called 988.
“I remember talking to that person and what was so hard about that call for me was asking for help because I really didn’t know how to do that up to that point, especially trying to deal with the feelings and the emotions I was at the time,” said Blackowl.
Zachary ended up getting help at a behavioral facility and now uses what he’s learned to help others who are dealing with depression and anxiety.
“To me that’s like a healing process. Being able to turn my pain into passion. And as far as I keep on going with this, you know, I feel my mother with me,” said Blackowl.
In the last few weeks, 988 has added an American Sign Language line where you can video chat or text with someone. The lifeline is also printed on student ID’s this school year.