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988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline goes live July 16

  • Published
  • 75th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

A new 988 telephone number has been designated as the new three-digit dialing code that will route callers to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

While some areas may be currently able to connect to the Lifeline by dialing 988, this dialing code will be available to everyone across the United States starting on July 16, 2022.

The Lifeline provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, across the United States.

When people call, text, or chat 988, they will be connected to trained counselors that are part of the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline network. Trained counselors will listen and work to understand how their problems are affecting them, provide support, and connect them to resources if necessary.

The current Lifeline phone number (1-800-273-8255) will always remain available to people in emotional distress or suicidal crisis, even after 988 is launched nationally.

The Lifeline’s network of more than 200 crisis centers has been in operation since 2005. Numerous studies have shown that callers feel less suicidal, less depressed, less overwhelmed and more hopeful after speaking with a Lifeline counselor.

The 988 expansion will also address the need for ease of access for military veterans, service members and their families in times of crisis.

Once a veteran's telephone service provider makes 988 available, veterans can use this new option by dialing 988 then pressing 1 to contact the Veterans Crisis Line. Veterans may still reach the Veterans Crisis Line with the current phone number — 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1 — through chat, and by text (838255).

Veterans Crisis Line responders have training in crisis intervention and military culture.

More information and suicide prevention resources can be found at 988lifeline.org.

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