We all are familiar with dialing 911 in the case of an emergency, however, are you aware of the new number for the suicide and crisis lifeline?
988 became the new, three-digit number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
988 is a free service available to everyone nationwide and when someone calls, texts, or chats 988, they will have a direct connection to trained counselors who will listen and understand how their problems are affecting them, provide support, and connect them to resources if necessary.
Similar to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline which preceded it, the 988 crisis line will be able to:
- Connect a person in a mental health crisis to a trained counselor who can address their immediate needs and help connect them to ongoing care
- Reduce health care spending with more cost-effective early intervention
- Reduce the use of law enforcement, public health, and other safety resources
- Meet the growing need for crisis intervention at scale
- Help end stigma toward those seeking or accessing mental healthcare
More than just suicide
It is important to remember that the resources and support one receives when one dials 988 covers more than just thoughts on suicide. “It is available 24 hours a day 7 days a week and is for mental health and substance use crisis-- not just suicide,” explains Christie Lesser, Behavioral Health Department Chair.
In 2020, 988 was designated as the new three-digit dialing code to route callers to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (now known as the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.
The previous Lifeline phone number (1-800-273-8255) will always remain available to people in emotional distress or suicidal crisis.
The Lifeline’s network of over 200 crisis centers has been in operation since 2005 and has been proven to be effective. It’s the counselors at these local crisis centers who answer the contacts the Lifeline receives every day. Numerous studies have shown that callers feel less suicidal, less depressed, less overwhelmed, and more hopeful after speaking with a Lifeline counselor.
For additional information regarding Neighborhood Health Center’s Behavioral Health department services, please click here.
You can click here to learn more about the 988 National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.