What is 988?
988 is a three-digital dialing code that connects callers to the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. People can also text 988 or use the chat feature at 988lifeline.org/chat. Regardless of how a person accesses the lifeline, they will be connected to counselors trained in helping people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. The lifeline, previously called the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and available at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), was shortened to 988 to make it more accessible and help people more easily access life-saving interventions and community resources. The previous phone number is still available.
How 988 Works
When a person contacts 988, they are connected to a trained counselor at a local crisis center. Counselors listen to the person and learn more about how their problems are impacting their life. The counselors also provide support and, if necessary, connect the person to helpful resources and local care. The lifeline’s network, which has operated since 2005, consists of more than 200 crisis centers. Callers are connected to local crisis centers based on the phone number from which they’re calling. Each center in the network chooses its coverage area by area code, zip code, county, or state, as well as its hours of operation.
What To Expect When Calling 988
988 callers are greeted with an automated message and the option to press 1 to access the Veteran Crisis Line, press 2 to talk with a Spanish speaker, or stay on the line to be routed to a local crisis center within the network. A trained crisis counselor will then listen to the caller to better understand what they’re experiencing. The counselor will also provide support, discuss ways to help the caller to feel better, and connect them with additional help and resources, if needed.
What To Expect When Texting 988
After texting 988, the texter will complete a short survey about their current situation. They will then be connected to a trained crisis counselor who reviews the survey to better understand what’s going on. The counselor will also interact with the texter to learn more about what they’re experiencing, offer support, and connect them with needed resources or help.
What To Expect When Chatting with 988
When a person accesses the lifeline chat via 988lifeline.org/chat, they will complete a short survey about their current situation. While they are being connected to a crisis counselor, the site will show the expected wait time. A trained counselor will join the chat and review the person’s survey responses to better understand their situation. The counselor will also interact with the person to learn more about their problems, how the person is feeling, provide support, and connect them to additional help and resources, if necessary.
Access 24/7 Support with 988
Studies show that after talking to a lifeline counselor, callers feel less overwhelmed, less depressed, less suicidal, and more hopeful.[i] To access assistance during a crisis, call or text 988 or visit 988lifeline.org/chat. To learn more about the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, visit 988lifeline.org.
Visit connectionshs.com to learn about Connections Health Solutions’ 24/7 mental health services.