Mental Health 988

Jamieson Brill, the director of the 988 call center in Hyattsville, Md., in October. Brill, whose family is from Puerto Rico, says his insight into Spanish-speaking cultures helps him relate to callers to the mental health helpline. Amanda Seitz/The Associated Press

HYATTSVILLE, Md. — When Jamieson Brill answers a crisis call from a Spanish speaker on the newly launched national 988 mental health helpline, he rarely mentions the word suicide, or “suicidio”

Brill, whose family hails from Puerto Rico, knows that just discussing the term in some Spanish-speaking cultures is so frowned upon that many callers are too scared to even admit that they’re calling for themselves.

“However strong stigma around mental health concerns is in English-speaking cultures, in Spanish-speaking cultures it is triple that,” said Brill, who helps people navigate mental health crises from a tiny brick building tucked away in Hyattsville, Md.

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