By Alexa Spencer
Originally appeared in Word in Black
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline will change its phone number to a three-digit dialing code, 988, on July 16.
People experiencing mental or emotional distress, a suicidal crisis, or substance abuse, can call or text 988 to be connected to a trained counselor. The counselor, a part of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline network, will “listen, understand how their problems are affecting them, provide support, and connect them to resources if necessary,” according to 988lifeline.org.
People in need of support can also chat with a counselor on the 988 website.
The current Lifeline number, 1-800-273-8255, will remain active after the national launch and route calls to 988; which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“Hope has a new number and it is 9-8-8. This historic transition to 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline will promote help seeking and increase awareness and accessibility to this life-saving resource. The 988 Lifeline is a vital mental health safety net for all in this country,” Kimberly Wiliams, president and CEO of Vibrant Emotional Health, which runs the Lifeline, said in a statement.
The 988 Lifeline is a national network of more than 200 locally operated and funded crisis centers throughout the U.S.