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The '988' Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is Live


Anyone in the United States can text or call 988 to reach trained counselors who can help them cope with a mental health emergency, and direct them to additional resources for mental health and substance use treatment.

Too many people experience suicidal crisis or mental health-related distress without the support and care they need. There are urgent mental health realities driving the need for crisis service transformation across our country. According to the Child Trend's article, Five Things to Know About Parental Depression, approximately 15.6 million children—1 in 5—live with a parent who is severely depressed. In severe cases of perinatal depression, birthing individuals may experience feelings of extreme sadness, anxiety, and fatigue that may make it difficult for them to carry out daily tasks, including caring for themselves or others. These feelings can lead to moments of crisis that include suicidal thoughts.  

There is hope. The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline – previously known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – is a national network of more than 200 crisis centers that helps thousands of people overcome crisis situations every day. These centers are supported by local and state sources as well as the Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). As of July 16, 2022, all calls and text messages to “988” route to a 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline call center. The primary goal of the new number is to make it easier for people to call for help. Lawmakers and mental health advocates also see this launch as an opportunity to transform the mental health care system and make care easily accessible everywhere in the United States.

What happens when you call the hotline?

Ideally, when someone calls 988, they will first be connected to one of 200 local call centers, which can help connect them to community resources or dispatch emergency services if necessary. If those call centers are busy, the caller will be automatically directed to a national backup center. In Douglas County, this new system will direct some callers to access behavioral health treatment through the county’s integrated system of care that includes Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center, Lawrence Memorial Hospital, Headquarters Counseling Center, and, later this summer, the county’s new Treatment and Recovery Center.

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