individual looking out window

Transition to 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline Begins 7/16

Publication Date: Jul 15, 2022

On Saturday, July 16th, the U.S. will transition from the 10-digit National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to 988 – an easy-to-remember three-digit number for 24/7 crisis care. This crisis care outreach effort follows a three-year collaboration by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).  The National Suicide Hotline Designation Act, signed into law after the passage of bipartisan legislation in 2020, authorized 988 as a new three-digit number for suicide and mental health crisis. All telephone service and text providers in the U.S. and the five major U.S. territories are required by the FCC to activate 988 no later than July 16.

The need for more accessible crisis care and support is imperative. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the U.S., one death by suicide occurred every 11 minutes in 2020; suicide was the second leading cause of death for young people aged 10-14 and 25-34; and between April 2020 and April 2021, more than 100,000 people died from drug overdoses. Studies have shown that after speaking with a trained crisis counselor, most Lifeline callers are significantly more likely to feel less depressed, less suicidal, less overwhelmed, and more hopeful.

The 10-digit Lifeline number 1-800-273-TALK (8255) will continue to be operational after July 16 and will route calls to 988 indefinitely. Veterans, service members, and their families can also still reach the Veterans Crisis Line with the current phone number 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, or by chat or text to 838255.

For more information on 988, please visit www.samhsa.gov/988 and https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/988/faqs.