Since its launch in mid-July 2022, the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline has received over two million calls, texts, and chats, according to the New York Times.
NPR reported that that amount is nearly 500,000 more calls than the former 10-digit National Suicide Prevention Lifeline during the prior year.
Overall, this is a tough topic to talk about. Of course, seeing an increase in crisis lifeline use is heartbreaking, but the fact that those people know that this line is available to help means that there could be real change. There can only be hope that the shortening of the number will further its reach and normalize its purpose.
When the new 988 number launched last year, it was aimed to be as memorable as dialing 911 in an emergency, switching from the hotline’s old ten-digit number. When called or texted, the 988 number connects callers to trained mental health professionals, eliminating the stress of either memorizing or having to search for the extended, former number. A lifeline like is an extraordinary step in the right direction for normalizing mental health support and health care. This development to the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline creates a more open and convenient way for those in the middle of a crisis to get some support.
Whether the help needed is big or small, this line can be something that anybody can lean on when they feel like there aren’t any other options.
The lifeline also has its own website, www.988lifeline.org, with information about suicide prevention, partnered crisis centers and stories of hope and recovery. In addition to those resources, there’s information about how you can get help or help someone else who may be in a mental health crisis.
With over 200 local crisis centers behind the lifeline and the combination of local and national resources and practices, this is one of the best possible steps taken to put greater awareness on mental health care, suicide prevention, and crisis support.
Mental health care is health care, and whether or not you’re currently struggling, it is always a good idea to do some personal maintenance and take care of yourself.
If you or anyone you know is struggling with their mental health, there are resources available. Reach out to a trusted friend or family member because nobody should have to fight alone.
Abby Provencal can be contacted at