Do you know about the new 988 Crisis Line?
The national suicide prevention hotline is funded by SAMHSA and has been administered by Vibrant Emotional Health since 2005. They have over 200 centers full of trained counselors to help you or a loved one in crisis or in distress.
They offer a phone line, chat, and text.
A goal of the new 988 Crisis Line is to help prevent people in mental distress from harming themselves or others around them.
On July 16, 2022, The new 988 Crisis Line will have just three digits: 988. There are many reasons for his change and I have listed them down below to better explain this change and why it is currently necessary.
1. 988 is easier to remember.
The three-digit number 988 is way easier to remember, especially for younger people in crisis.
For example, instead of the emergency number being several digits long, 988 is short and straight to the point with just three numbers like 911.
2. The 988 dialing code can help expand the crisis hotline.
The three-digit dialing code hopes to expand the crisis universally so that users have better and more efficient help when going through a crisis.
The 988 Crisis Line hopes to expand to communities around the nation.
3. Suicide is a growing problem.
Many people around the country are suffering from mental health or life in general. As this problem grows, the national suicide prevention center wants to prevent that from happening by having a more accessible number to help people of all ages to feel like they have someone to talk to.
In 2020, there was a suicide every 11 minutes. Hopefully, this will change for the better.
The Vision for 988
The end goal for 988 will not be achieved in a day. It takes time to not only build a crisis lifeline but to build one with care.
A short-term goal for the 988 lifeline change is to expand the lifeline they already have. They want to make sure they have workers that are trained to better help people in crisis.
In the long-term, they plan to expand the crisis hotline to have specialists all across the board. For example, when you call 9-1-1, the operators ask you what is wrong and assess whether to send the police or the paramedics. This is what 988 will be like: 9-1-1 but for mental health.
This won’t happen overnight. It will take years of research, collaborations, feedback, and more to make the 998 Crisis Line a success.
Photo credit: Ayo Ogunseinde, Unsplash