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Mistrust lingers in Black communities amid the launch of the 988 crisis line

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Sitaniel Wimbley poses for a photo at her office, the headquarters for NAMI Mississippi in Ridgeland, Miss., on July 11, 2022. As director of the Mississippi chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Wimbley is working to strengthen connections between mental health programs and people skeptical of their services. The work takes on a renewed urgency after the federal government launched the United States' first nationwide three-digit mental health crisis hotline on July 16.

Federal officials are grappling with how local teams staffing the national 988 lines will contend with suspicion of the medical establishment.

Health officials are grappling with how people staffing the new national 988 crisis hotlines will contend with suspicion of the medical establishment in Black communities.

The U.S. Justice Department ordered Mississippi last year to revamp its mental health system after federal regulators found that mentally ill people were being improperly detained.

That contributes to what some experts say is an underutilization of mental health services within communities of color.

Some local leaders are guiding people to mental health treatment through the Black churches that are pillars of their communities.

Click here to read more of this article from the Associated Press.