National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Announces New 3-Digit 'Suicide & Crisis' Number
"988 is more than a number, it is a message: we're there for you," Xavier Becerra, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said.
by Nick Fenley
July 20, 2022 at 8:27 pm
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline has a new name and number: the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide or experiencing a mental health or substance use crisis, call or text 988. You can also chat https://t.co/9rVG9BEOgT. 988 connects you with a trained crisis counselor who can help. #988Lifeline pic.twitter.com/cKhJfTevjz
— HHS.gov (@HHSGov) July 19, 2022
This three-digit number is an alternative to 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255), which will remain in operation — though calls will be routed to 988 “indefinitely,” according to a SAMHSA press release.
“988 is more than a number, it is a message: we’re there for you. Through this and other actions, we are treating mental health as a priority and putting crisis care in reach for more Americans,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in the SAMHSA press release.
Dr. Miriam Delphin-Rittmon, the administrator of SAMHSA, also discussed the new 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.
“One of the goals of 988 is to ensure that people get the help that they need when they need it, where they need it. And so, when a person calls 988, they can expect to have a conversation with a trained, compassionate crisis counselor who will talk with them about what they’re experiencing,” she said, according to CNN. “If it’s the case that they need further intervention, then likely the crisis counselor will connect with a local mobile crisis team.”
“Some of the goal is to, where possible, minimize unnecessary contact or connection with police departments when what a person needs is connecting with either a mobile crisis worker or anyone within the mental health and behavioral health system of care,” Delphin-Rittmon continued.
It’s also worth noting that the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline includes the Veterans Crisis Line, which can be reached by dialing 988 and then pressing 1.
“988 has been a long time coming and will serve as a critical resource during a crisis when every second counts. The new, shorter number will help ensure Veterans have easier access to the Veterans Crisis Line,” Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Denis McDonough said in the SAMHSA release.
“This launch is a whole-of-government approach in line with the President’s call to prioritize mental health by strengthening access to crisis services, and preventing Veteran suicide, our top clinical priority,” he added.
— Veterans Affairs (@DeptVetAffairs) July 18, 2022
Remember: mental health assistance is only one call away, and 988 is the new number to know.