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A New Crisis Hotline for Mental Health

Published April 19, 2022

By Amy C. O’Hara, CELA

Starting July 16, 2022, a new crisis hotline will be rolled out for individuals to call that is being touted as the “911 for mental health.” 988 will be the new three-digit phone number that callers can call or text and they will be routed to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline where they will be connected with trained counselors.  The plan is to eventually not only provide counselling in a crisis but work with 911 to dispatch specially trained responders to the crisis if it is needed.

According to the Suicide Prevention Lifeline website, the current Lifeline phone number (1-800-273-8255) will remain available to people in emotional distress or suicidal crisis, even after 988 is launched nationally.

The Lifeline provides free and confidential emotional support to people dealing with a mental health crisis, including suicidal thoughts or tendencies.  It is available throughout the United States 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  With the new 988 number, the hope is that with having a new universal dialing code it will increase the accessibility of life-saving interventions and resources to any individual in need and decrease the stigmatization for those seeking mental healthcare. 

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