What is 988?

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) designated 988 as the new three-digit number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, establishing an easy to remember way to reach help in the moment of a mental health crisis. This national three-digit number, 988, will allow anyone to receive immediate emotional and crisis counseling support.

The requirement for phone service providers to transition to 988 as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline will take effect on July 16, 2022. Services will be available in English and Spanish. It is now up to each individual state to design and build their 988 crisis response systems or enhance the systems currently in place. The goal is for each state to have a responsive system that effectively connects people to timely appropriate care without relying on law enforcement.

Until the formal launch of 988, anyone in mental health crisis or emotional distress should continue to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-275-TALK (8255).

To learn more, visit this SAMHSA article.

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