In the United States, there is now a new option for people who are in need of crisis assistance to get it. They can now just dial or text the numbers 9-8-8, which is the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. So, what is the 988 Mental Health Hotline?
The new 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, which is modeled after 911, is intended to be a rapid and memorable number that links people who are experiencing suicidal thoughts or any other type of mental health crisis with a qualified mental health practitioner.
According to Xavier Becerra, the secretary of the federal Department of Health and Human Services, “If you are willing to turn to someone in your moment of crisis, 988 will be there. 988 won’t be a busy signal, and 988 won’t put you on hold. You will get help.”
The new number’s main objective is to make it simpler for individuals to call for assistance. The launch is also seen by lawmakers and mental health advocates as a chance to change the mental health care system and make treatment freely accessible nationwide. In order to support the 988 system, the Biden administration has spent more than $400 million improving crisis centers and other mental health services.
What Is 988 Mental Health Hotline
The 988 mental health hotline provides access to the nation’s current network of more than 200 regional crisis contact centers. Calls will be diverted to 988 but the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s 10-digit number, 1-800-273-8255, will still be in operation.
How Does It Work
Callers or texters to the number will be linked to a professional counselor at the nearest crisis center. A call is forwarded to one of 16 backup crisis centers around the nation if the local center is too busy to answer immediately.
Calling the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline has proven to be a beneficial intervention for the vast majority of persons who do so.
A growing number of states have begun to increase their capacity to provide immediate on-the-ground mental health care to persons who call in a crisis in addition to the introduction of 988.
“Over time, the vision for 988 is to have additional crisis services available in communities across the country, much the way emergency medical services work,” said Miriam Delphin-Rittmon, the HHS assistant secretary for SAMHSA, in a statement.As a BetterHelp afﬁliate, we may receive compensation from BetterHelp if you purchase products or services through the links provided.
988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline FAQs
What you need to know about the new number and the initiative to increase access to emergency mental health care is provided below.
When Did 988 Go Live Nationally?
The 988 dialing code first became available nationwide for calls (multiple languages),
text or chat (English only) on July 16, 2022.
What Happens When You Call The 988 Mental Health Hotline?
People will be connected to qualified counselors who are a member of the current National Suicide Prevention Lifeline network when they dial, text, or chat with 988.
Your call will first be routed to your local Lifeline network crisis center while you hear an automated message with more alternatives.
A little music will be played while you are connected to a skilled, trained crisis worker.
The phone will be answered by a qualified crisis worker at your local center.
This individual will listen to you, be supportive, understand how your issue is impacting you, and assist you with receiving the support you require.
Are 988 Hotline Calls Private?
The Lifeline provides 24/7, free, and confidential mental health support to people in emotional distress or suicidal crisis! The 988 Lifeline helps thousands of people overcome crisis situations every single day.
How Does 988 Differ From 911?
988 was created to increase access to crisis services in a way that satisfies our nation’s expanding demand for crisis care connected to suicide and mental health. Compared to 911, 988 will make it simpler to access the Lifeline network and related crisis resources (with 911, the focus is on dispatching Emergency police, fire, and Emergency Medical Services as needed).
Can I Call 988 For Substance Use Crisis?
Anyone who needs assistance dealing with a mental health, suicide, or substance use crisis is welcome to call Lifeline.
Can I Still Call The Old National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, (1-800-273-8255)?
Yes! Even after 988 is made widely available, the present Lifeline phone number (1-800-273-8255) will always be accessible to those experiencing emotional distress or a suicidal crisis.
Who Is Funding The 988 Hotline?
Through the American Rescue Plan, Congress has granted financing for the Department of Health and Human Services’ workforce, some of which will assist the 988 staff. The National Suicide Hotline Designation Act of 2020 permits states to establish new state telecommunication fees to assist in supporting 988 operations at the state level in addition to already existing public/private sector funding sources.
According to a statement from the HHS, the Biden administration has allocated $432 million (a substantial increase from the previous $24 million) toward increasing the capacity of local and backup call centers and delivering related services, along with a subnetwork for Spanish speakers.
Why Was The 988 Lifeline Established?
Currently, most people who have a mental health emergency call 911.
The issue is that mental health requirements were not considered when 911 was designed. Callers either wind up in a chaotic emergency department where they must wait for hours or even days to receive care, or they deal with law enforcement, which may result in trauma or tragedy.
Advocates for mental health are hoping that 988 will establish itself as a well-known, secure, and superior substitute.
The initiative behind 988 aims to eventually decrease run-ins with law enforcement and connect those in need of immediate assistance. It is part of a longer-term initiative to increase the number of mental emergency response teams across the nation.
Does The Lifeline Offer TTY Services For People That Are Hearing Impaired?
For TTY Users: Use your preferred relay service or dial 711 then 988.
People in suicidal crisis or emotional distress can get free, confidential emotional help from the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, a national network of local crisis centers, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in the United States. By empowering people, expanding industry best practices, and raising awareness, they are dedicated to enhancing crisis services and advancing suicide prevention.
You can find even more 988 Lifeline FAQs on their official FAQ page.As a BetterHelp afﬁliate, we may receive compensation from BetterHelp if you purchase products or services through the links provided.