TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The Crisis Center of Tampa Bay said an influx in mental health and suicide calls has created a desperate need to fill call center positions.

Since the new 988 suicide and crisis lifeline launched back in July, the crisis center is seeing an average of 400 calls per week when it used to receive less than 100 calls weekly.

“These increases aren’t just because the number is shorter, we’re [not] just seeing it because the number is shorter, these people were always out there,” said Eric Bledsoe, Tampa Bay Crisis Center Director of Gateway Services.

Currently, the call center is operating at 50 percent staffing as several new positions have been created in the contact center following the new 988 lifeline. The center looks to fill nearly 40 roles.

“It’s very important to make sure that we keep it staffed and keep those lines operating because without it, the community is not getting the help it needs,” Bledsoe said.

When staff members are unable to answer a call within 120 seconds, the person is re-directed to the backup center, which is 211 Tampa Bay Cares.

People interested in employment opportunities with the Crisis Center can apply here.