About this Resource:
The main purpose of the 988 number is to simplify access to suicide prevention services and mental health crisis counselors.
To achieve this legislation was introduced in 2020 to create a nation-wide three-digit number (988) that will be routed through the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. 988 will be available across the country by July 16, 2022.
By creating a mental health crisis number, law enforcement’s involvement in mental health crises may be reduced. This shift in mental health crisis response has the potential to break the cycle of ER visits, involvement in the criminal justice system, and experiences with homelessness, which disproportionately affect historically marginalized communities. This guide highlights benefits of 988, reviews key pieces of the federal legislation, and describes state-level efforts.