Too many people experience suicidal crisis or mental health-related distress without the support and care
they need. There are urgent mental health realities driving the need for crisis service transformation
across our country. In 2020 alone, the U.S. had one death by suicide about every 11 minutes—and for
people aged 10-34 years, suicide is a leading cause of death.
There is hope. The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline – previously known as the National Suicide Prevention
Lifeline – is a national network of more than 200 crisis centers that helps thousands of people
overcome crisis situations every day. These centers are supported by local and state sources as well as the
Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
As of July 16, 2022, all calls and text messages to “988” route to a 988 Suicide and Crisis
Lifeline call center. Three call centers in Washington state now operate 24/7 with trained operators to help people navigate crises related to mental health or substance use disorder. Call centers reported a 50% increase in call volume following the July 16 launch of the new, easy-to-remember 988 dialing code.
The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is an important step toward strengthening and transforming crisis care in this country. It serves as a universal entry point so that no matter where you live, you can reach a trained crisis counselor who can help.
- New Nationwide Number: 988 is more than just an easy-to-remember number — it’s a direct connection to compassionate, accessible care and support for anyone experiencing mental health-related distress – whether thoughts of suicide, mental health, substance use crisis, or any other kind of emotional distress.
- Help for Veterans: For calls, pressing “1” after dialing 988 will connect you directly to the Veterans Crisis Lifeline which serves our nation’s Veterans, service members, National Guard and Reserve members, and those who support them. For texts, continue to text the Veterans Crisis Lifeline short code: 838255.
- Provides Support: People can also dial 988 if they are worried about a loved one who may need crisis support.
- FCC Rules: Calls and texts to 988 will be directed to the Lifeline. Calls and texts to 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) will also continue to reach the 988 Lifeline even after the nationwide implementation of 988.