THE NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE NUMBER IS NOW 988
July 12, 2022
On July 16th, callers who are thinking about suicide, struggling with mental health challenges or addiction issues need dial only 3 numbers to be connected to a trained, caring, local healthcare professional.
Those 3 numbers are 988.
What will happen when someone calls 988, for themselves or for someone else? The call will be answered quickly, usually within 90 seconds. Translators are available for those whose language is not English. The responder will be trained in mental health. Callers can talk about anything that is causing them distress – mental, financial or physical issues, family concerns, anxiety, depression or PTSD. The call will last as long as it takes to return the caller to a safe place. The responder will be near the caller, and will know all of the professional resources available locally. Callers will be helped to make their own safety plans. The responder will check back periodically.
What will not happen? Law enforcement need not be involved unless the crisis is extremely dangerous and imminent. Callers will not be talking to someone in a distant place. No one will ever hear “Just deal with it…Just think good thoughts.” No caller will be left on his or her own to move to the next step of comfort and safety.
Why does everyone need to know about 988? Because mental health and the threat of suicide are everywhere. Suicide rates are on the rise, and at any given time the CDC reports that over 50 million Americans are suffering with a mental health challenge.
Anyone can learn to recognize the risk factors and warning signs that may indicate a serious mental illness, or a possible suicide attempt. “Suicide prevention first aid” is as easy to learn as CPR. If you’re thinking about suicide, or worried about someone, the first step is to memorize 988.