As you may have heard, the new three-digit phone number to call for mental health, substance use, and suicide crises is now available nationwide. Just three easy numbers, the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is intended to be an easy-to-remember way for people to connect with help and support during a crisis, any time, 24/7.
Congress designated 988 as the new nationwide calling code for mental health emergencies in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2020, and I am thrilled that it is now ready for use across the country. I am proud to have helped make this vital service more accessible.
When someone calls or texts 988, or chats with the Lifeline at 988Lifeline.org, they will be connected to trained counselors who are part of the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Network. These counselors are trained to listen, empathize with callers, and provide support and resources as needed.
I also want to note that the current Lifeline phone number (1-800-273-8255) will remain in effect for people in emotional distress or suicidal crises, even after the launch of 988 nationwide.
Importantly, 988 is not a replacement for 911. This service is specifically intended to meet America’s growing suicide and mental health-related needs. 988 will make it easier to access the Suicide and Crisis Prevention Lifeline and connect with crisis-related resources.
911 will remain the number to call for dispatching Emergency Medical Services, firefighters, and police as needed.
If you experience a mental health, suicide, or substance abuse crisis, please take advantage of this life-saving resource. Take care of one another and stay safe. As always, if my office can assist you in any way, please do not hesitate to reach out to my staff at (703) 256-3071.