On Saturday, July 16, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline was officially launched as a service for individuals experiencing a mental health crisis. Those in need of the service can call or text “9-8-8” to be connected with a trained mental health professional.
Modeled after 911, the new 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a quick and memorable number designed to connect those who are suicidal or experiencing any form of a mental health crisis to a trained mental health professional. The 988 number will connect those who request the service to an existing network of over 200 local mental health crisis centers throughout the country. If a local crisis center is unable to take your call, the call will automatically be forwarded to one of 16 backup crisis centers throughout the country.
Xavier Becerra, the secretary of the federal Department of Health and Human Services, said during a recent press conference about 988, “If you are willing to turn to someone in your moment of crisis, 988 will be there. 988 won’t be a busy signal, and 988 won’t put you on hold. You will get help.”
In 2020, President Donald Trump signed into law a bipartisan bill to create the 988 number in response to the ongoing mental health crisis. The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a joint effort between the Department of Health and Human Services, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Today, the Biden administration has invested more than $400 million in an effort to strengthen local crisis centers and other mental health services to support 988.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, available by calling 1-800-273-8255, will remain active, but calls placed to the NSPL will be forwarded to 988.
To learn more about the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline and its services, visit 988lifeline.org.
The number for the Suicide Prevention Lifeline will be routed to the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.