The National Suicide Prevention Hotline number has now changed to an easier three-digit number 9-8-8.
When people call or text 988, they will be connected to a 24/7 crisis call center with trained counselors ready to help with mental health emergencies and help those at risk of suicide. People may also call the number if they are worried about a loved one who may be in need of crisis support.
The new number launched Saturday, July 16.
The Federal Communications Commission reported in 2020 the United States had one death by suicide every 11 minutes and suicide is a leading cause of death for people aged 10-34 years. The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline aims to offer hope with its network of more than 200 crisis centers helping thousands overcome situations every day.
The goal is to make reaching out for help more of a destigmatized routine. When people see a fire they instinctively call 911. Mental health officials hope the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline becomes just as instinctive when someone is facing mental health problems and suicidal thoughts.
Suicide and Crisis Lifeline officials say that studies have shown callers feel less suicidal, less overwhelmed, less depressed, and more hopeful after speaking with a Lifeline counselor.
The centers are supported by state and local sources in addition to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
The former number 1-800-273-8255 will also remain active for people in emotional distress of suicidal crisis.