Introducing 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline

July 19, 2022

Now there is a new and easier way to connect to behavioral or mental health crisis services anywhere in the United States. By dialing or texting 988, anyone in need of support for a suicidal, mental health, and/or substance use crisis for themselves or a loved one can now be directly connected to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline network. A chat option for 988 is also available through the website

Modeled after 911, the new and national 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is designed to be a memorable and quick number that connects people who are suicidal or in any other mental health crisis to a trained mental health provider.

How It Works

  • The call/text will be routed to the local Lifeline network crisis center (based on the caller’s area code) or to a regional/national backup center automatically if the local center is unable to take the call.
  • A trained crisis counselor will answer the phone, listen to the caller, understand how their problem affects them, provide support, and share resources if needed. Counselors can provide therapeutic interventions, make referrals to local services for additional evaluation and/or activate a mobile crisis team or emergency services to arrive on site.

988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Support can be provided live in both English and Spanish and over 250 other languages using translation services. The standard 1-800-273-8255 hotline number will remain in place with the new 988 number being instituted as an easier and more memorable way to access these important services.

The new 988 is an essential step in transforming the mental health care system and making behavioral health care easily accessible to all.

Be the help someone in crisis. Watch the series. 

For more information:

You can also find helpful information in these UPMC CCP Health Resources articles:

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