Starting July 16, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline will be a three-digit code, 988. People will be able to call, text, or chat to help callers with mental health in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. Trained counselors will be there to assist, support, and connect with the caller.
The current National Suicide Prevenetion Lifeline phone number is 1-800-273-TALK (8255). This phone number has been available since 2005 and it will continue to be available after the 988 crisis line is launched.
There is also a live chat line that can be used to talk with a counselor. Another option would be to text 988 or 1-800-273- TALK. Both options will first ask to complete a short survey to let the counselor know more about the current situation.
The Lifeline phone system will be available for 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.
According to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, before the pandemic suicide was the tenth-leading cause of death and after the pandemic suicide is the second-leading cause of death among young people.
Since 2005, there have been over 20 million calls, and the calls continue to grow year by year. There are 180 accredited crisis centers that are distributed throughout the country to locally support local areas with calls.
A 988 crisis line will be able to reach millions of people and help with suicide crisis and emotional distress. Studies have shown that callers have felt less suicidal, less depressed, and less overwhelmed after calling.
The next step would be to ensure all callers receive additional local community resources to follow up with their needs.
The 988 crisis line is set to help millions of more people nationwide.