On Saturday June 16th, 988 will officially be launched as the National Crisis & Suicide Prevention Hotline. After countless decades of awareness and advocacy brought to attention regarding the development of mental health care and support, the launch of 988 will provide instant assistance to anyone calling/texting, just like 911.
The implementation of 988 was a process discussed for almost 3 years now, and the final result is just the beginning of change. Although the official launch will take place Saturday, many health care professionals have claimed that this is the first step to bringing faster action to any mental health crisis. Evidently, mental illness emergencies have rapidly increased over the past years, and the easy to dial/text 3-digit hotline now stands as an efficient number to assist anyone around the country suffering from mental health distress or challenges.
According to the Federal Communications Commissions (fcc.org), these are the main points directly listed on the official website:
- New Nationwide Number: 988 is more than just an easy-to-remember number—it is a direct connection to compassionate, accessible care and support for anyone experiencing mental health related distress — whether thoughts of suicide, mental health, substance abuse crisis, or any other kind of emotional distress.
- Provides Support: People can also dial 988 if they are worried about a loved one who may need crisis support.
- FCC Rules: Under FCC rules, calls and texts to 988 will be directed to the Lifeline. Calls and texts to 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) will also continue to reach the 988 Lifeline even after the nationwide implementation of 988.
- Saving Lives: The FCC actions reflect its commitment to saving lives and connecting individuals to necessary intervention services. Switching to the easy-to-remember 988 makes it easier for individuals in crisis to access the help they need and decrease the stigma surrounding suicide and mental health issues.
- Important Step: The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is an important step toward strengthening and transforming crisis care in this country. It serves as a universal entry point so that no matter where you live, you can reach a trained crisis counselor who can help.
- Help for Veterans: For calls, pressing “1” after dialing 988 will connect you directly to the Veterans Crisis Lifeline which serves our nation’s Veterans, service members, National Guard and Reserve members, and those who support them. For texts to the Veterans Crisis short code: 838255
To learn more information, make sure to visit 988lifeline.org.