HELP IS JUST THREE NUMBERS AWAY: 988
CALL, TEXT, or CHAT
988 has been designated as the three-digit dialing code that will route callers to the National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline and increase the accessibility of the Lifeline for individuals beginning July 16, 2022.
988 offers free, 24/7 access to trained Lifeline specialists who can help people experiencing mental health-related distress. That could be:
- Thoughts of suicide
- Mental health or substance use crisis, or
- Any other kind of emotional distress
People can call or text 988 or chat 988lifeline.org for themselves or if they are worried about a loved one who may need crisis support. 988 serves as a universal entry point so that no matter where you live in the United States, you can reach a trained Lifeline specialist who can help.
Yes, the Lifeline works. Numerous studies have shown that most Lifeline callers are significantly more likely to feel less depressed, less suicidal, less overwhelmed, and more hopeful after speaking to a Lifeline specialist.
Almost 98% of people who call, chat or text the 988 Lifeline get the crisis support they need and do not require additional services in that moment. The Lifeline specialists are trained to help reduce the intensity of a situation for the person seeking help, and connect them to additional local resources, as needed, to support their wellbeing.
When calling 988, callers first hear a greeting message while their call is routed to the local Lifeline network crisis center (based on the caller’s area code). A trained Lifeline specialist answers the phone, listens to the caller, understands how their problem is affecting them, provides support, and shares resources if needed. If the local crisis center is unable to take the call, the caller is automatically routed to a national backup crisis center. The Lifeline provides live crisis center phone services in English and Spanish and uses Language Line Solutions to provide translation services in over 250 additional languages for people who call 988.
Yes, the Lifeline responds 24/7 to calls (multiple languages), chats, or texts (English only) from anyone who needs mental health-related or suicide crisis support and connects them with trained Lifeline specialists. The support and service received from the Lifeline specialists is provided at no charge to those who use the service; however, standard data rates from telecommunication mobile carriers may apply to those who text to the Lifeline. 988 is not currently available when phones are locked or do not have prepaid minutes. If monetary assistance is needed for communications needs, please see www.fcc.gov/lifeline-consumers for more information.
Currently, a small percentage of Lifeline calls require activation of the 911 system when there is imminent risk to someone’s life that cannot be reduced during the Lifeline call. In these cases, the Lifeline specialist shares information with 911 that is crucial to saving the caller’s life.
Yes. Anyone who needs suicide or mental health-related crisis support, or who has a loved one in crisis, can connect with a trained Lifeline specialist by calling, chatting, or texting 988 (as long as the caller has telephone, cellular or internet services available to them).
Veterans, Service Members, and their families call 988 and press option 1. To learn more, please visit https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/about/what-is-988. This process is the same as it has been in the past for Veterans; however it’s now simpler with the shortened 988 number.