By now, you’ve probably heard that the National suicide prevention hotline number has changed to 988 from its old 800 number. And maybe you’re still scratching your head over this fundamental change, wondering why the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline made this switch and what it means for the people who need help. So here’s everything you need to know about this new crisis number.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for individuals and families, and best practices for professionals. In July, the FCC voted to make 988 the new National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number. This will make it easier for people in crisis to get the help they need.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centres that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24/7, 365 days a year. It’s important to remember that suicide is preventable. If you or someone you know is in danger of harming themselves, please call 1-800-273-8255 to speak with a trained crisis counsellor.
Who can call it?
The number is for anyone experiencing a mental health crisis or considering suicide. You don’t have to be in danger of harming yourself to call; if you’re struggling and just need someone to talk to, 988 is for you. The hotline is open 24/7, and trained counsellors are available to provide support and resources.
While 988 might be a new number, it’s not a stranger to anyone who has had an encounter with mental health issues. It’s an easy-to-remember extension of another crisis hotline that reaches millions of people in distress yearly—the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255). That lifeline will continue in its current form. But by providing access to trained counsellors and providing an additional way for family members and loved ones of people struggling with mental health issues. We can make sure no one has any barriers standing between them and professional support in their time of need.
What does it cost?
The number will not cost anything extra to call. In fact, it will be cheaper than the current 10-digit number because it will be a shorter call. In addition, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a free, confidential service that can provide people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress with support, information and resources 24/7.
Those in crisis who call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) are routed to their nearest crisis centre. If your local area doesn’t have a centre, your call will be referred to a crisis centre closest to you. The average wait time for an immediate response is under 2 minutes, and all calls are confidential.
How can I make sure someone who needs help will get through?
The 988 national suicide prevention lifeline provides free and confidential emotional support 24/7 for people in distress. You can also call 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) to reach a crisis counsellor. If you are worried about someone you care about, the best thing to do is have a conversation with them. You can also call a friend or family member, your doctor, or mental health professional. If you are in immediate danger, call 911.
What if I want to speak with someone myself?
If you are thinking about suicide or are worried about someone else, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to speak with a trained counsellor. If you are in a crisis situation, please call 988.
You will be connected to a certified crisis centre near you, where someone will listen to your problems and help devise a plan to keep you safe. You are not alone, and help is available. Please reach out if you need it.
Addresses and contact information
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for individuals and families, and best practices for professionals.
In July 2020, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) established a new three-digit telephone number to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The new number will be easier for people to remember in a crisis and will help reduce barriers to seeking help.
If you are in crisis or having thoughts of suicide, call 988 or 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to speak with a trained crisis counsellor. You can also text HOME to 741-741 to connect with a Crisis Text Line counsellor.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has just announced that 988 will be the new national suicide prevention hotline. This is a three-digit number that will be easier for people to remember and call in times of crisis.
This is a huge win for mental health advocates and suicide prevention organizations, who have been lobbying for this change for years.
The old number, 1-800-273-TALK (8255), will still work for the time being, but eventually, all calls will be routed to 988.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call 988 or 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to get help.