Everything you Need to Know About 988
by Jake Donofrio
Welcome to the new era of mental health – where 988 is now the official place for anyone experiencing a mental health crisis to receive free, 24/7 support.
988 was created as a shortcut to reach the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline because anyone experiencing severe mental distress needs easily accessible emotional support and resources. The nationwide implementation of this number aims to decrease the stigma surrounding mental health and encourage more people to seek help when needed. Numerous studies have shown that callers feel less suicidal, less depressed, less overwhelmed and more hopeful after speaking with a Lifeline counselor.
1 in 5 U.S adults experience mental illness, and 20.4 million people in the United States were diagnosed with a substance use disorder in the past year. National, standardized crisis prevention is an urgent need and the implementation of 988 is a life-saving step in the right direction.
When Can I Contact 988?
Dialing 988 will connect you to a counselor from the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline beginning on July 16th, 2022. 988 accepts calls and texts 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
When Should I Contact 988?
Call or text 988 to reach the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline if you or a loved one are suffering from extreme emotional distress, substance use, suicidal thoughts, or any intersecting behavioral health concerns. While 911 operators focus on dispatching Emergency Medical Services, fire, and police, calling 988 will connect you to a skilled mental health professional trained to empathize with your struggles and provide specialized support. All 988 communications are 100% free and confidential.
How Can 988 Help Me?
988 support staff aid anyone experiencing mental distress by providing a direct connection to compassionate care and personalized guidance. Trained counselors will listen, understand how your problems are affecting you, provide specialized support, and connect you to national as well as local resources if necessary.
Do I Have to Disclose Personal Information if I Contact 988?
Providing private information is not required to receive immediate support from a Crisis Center. Lifeline counselors are trained to assist everyone in co-creating a safety plan and don’t need your location unless you want information on local resources.
What is the Impact of the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline
Before its recent rebrand, the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline was known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
The Lifeline has helped over 20 million people since its inception in 2005 and consists of over 200 individual crisis centers across the country.