The St. Lawrence County Suicide Awareness Coalition is promoting the new 988, nationwide, three-digit dialing code for the Suicide and Crisis and Lifeline, launched this past July 2022. 988 is …
The St. Lawrence County Suicide Awareness Coalition is promoting the new 988, nationwide, three-digit dialing code for the Suicide and Crisis and Lifeline, launched this past July 2022. 988 is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is free and confidential.
The 988 dialing code connects people via call, text, or chat, to the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL) where compassionate, accessible care and support are available for anyone experiencing mental health-related distress.
In addition to activating a new dialing code for anyone experiencing suicidal or mental health-related crisis to call, the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline also allows text messaging as part of increasing access to services for youth and persons with different abilities. People can also dial or text 988 if they are worried about a loved one who may need crisis support.
Call services are available in Spanish, along with interpretation services in over 250 languages. Text and chat services are available in English only. Veterans and service members may reach the Veterans Crisis Line by pressing 1 after dialing 988 or 1-900-273-TALK (8255). People who are deaf, hard of hearing, and TTY users should use your preferred relay services or dial 711 then 1-800-273-8255.
There is a tremendous need for access to trained counselors who can help people experiencing mental health-related distress, given:
In 2020, the U.S. had one death by suicide every 11 minutes.
For people ages 10-34, suicide is a leading cause of death.
From April 2020 through April 2021, over 100,000 people died from drug overdoses.
Behind each of these data points, there are people, families and communities who have been impacted. Yet, in the face of these urgent realities, there is hope. The 988 Lifeline helps thousands of struggling people overcome suicidal crisis or mental-health related distress every day. The federal government and partners from across the nation, like the St. Lawrence County Suicide Coalition are working together to provide guidance to make our work a little easier, and the new 988 hotline is a great example of these efforts.
While this is an exciting time to reimagine how we provide crisis services in the U.S., the full vision of a transformed crisis care system with 988 at its core will not be built overnight.
Transformation of this scale will take time, and we must all work together to make it happen. It is important that we speak with one voice about 988 to ensure clear understanding about what it is and how it will work.
To learn more about 988 visit https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/988 or contact visit the St. Lawrence County Suicide Awareness Coalition’s Facebook page.