Beginning today, July 16, 9-8-8 will be the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and mental health crisis hotline number.
"The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline (formerly known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline) provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, across the United States. The Lifeline is comprised of a national network of over 200 local crisis centers, combining custom local care and resources with national standards and best practices.", states the 988lifeline.org website.
You never know when a crisis may arise, and having three digits to remember instead of 10 can be the difference that connects someone to a lifeline in those urgent moments.
When people call, text or chat 9-8-8, they will be connected to trained counselors.
This new hotline number is a game changer in helping with the mental health crisis.
Currently, the majority of people experiencing a mental health emergency dial 911.
The problem is that 911 wasn't set up to address mental health needs. Either callers end up in a frenetic emergency room, waiting for hours and sometimes days to get care, or they end up interacting with law enforcement, which can lead to tragedy or trauma.
Mental health advocates hope that 9-8-8 will be a safer and more effective alternative.