📣Have you heard about 988?

Mental Health

⬇️Here is a little information about what it is and how it can help.

988 is the new three digit number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (988 was signed into law in 2020). People can call or text 988 or chat at 988lifeline.org/chat.

🪂 If you are in the U.S. (or five major U.S. territories) and you or a loved one are having any sort of mental health issue (not just a crisis), 988 can help! 988 will connect you directly to the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline (what used to be called the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline). Veterans can reach the Veterans Crisis Line by calling 988, then pressing 1 to connect. Veterans can also call the previous number (1-800-273-8255, text 838255, or chat VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat).

❓Why is 988 important?

Rates of depression, anxiety, and other mental health struggles have increased since the start of the pandemic (up to a 25% increase globally). At the same time, pandemic related closures, decreased funding, clinician burnout, and increased wait times have made counseling, therapy, and evaluation services for mental health more difficult to access. While 988 may not help people get into services sooner, it can help people in crisis talk to someone quickly. It also separates mental health crisis support by directing people to use 988 over 911, with the hopes that this decreases the law enforcement response (and potential harm caused by it) to mental health crises.

❓What does it do?

It connects you to counselors, support, and resources. The people who answer the phones are a part of one of nearly 200 call centers across the country (and hopefully more in the future). They are not always in your community, but are ideally close to you and can help you to get connected to local support. Soon it is hoped that they can connect you to local mobile teams and treatments as well. Some states already have this in place.

It acts like 911 so that you can get help when you are in distress.

It acts confidentially unless you are at risk for harm.

It is free.

❓When can I call?

You can call anytime. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

If you are at risk of harming yourself, call 988. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline has trained counselors who can help and get you the resources you need.

If you have a loved one at risk, call 988.

Even if you are not having an emergency, you can call and talk about what you are experiencing. You can also call if you have a loved one at risk or even have questions about how you can help them. You don’t have to wait until you or someone in your life are in crisis mode.

❓What can I talk about?

You can talk about anything from depression to substance use to family issues. There are no limits to what you can/cannot talk about but it should be related to your mental wellness.

❓Is there another way to reach 988?

You can still use the old number at 1-800-825-TALK, although this will eventually be phased out.

❓Will 988 send the police to my location?

If you need a police officer or if you are having a medical emergency, call emergency services. But, sometimes 988 can send other services. Please note that if needed, 988 may contact to local services if medical, police or other services if appropriate.

❓What if I am concerned about someone?

You can still call 988 and talk to a live person. You can find out how to help and even get resources to help them.

❓Is 988 available internationally?

988 is not available internationally, but there are other organizations internationally.

❓What if I don’t speak English?

988 is available in Spanish and translation is available for nearly 250 language.

➡️ We hope that 988 makes it easier for people to call and access support when they need it. We recognize this is a start to doing that and that more resources are needed to better develop crisis response systems, funding for programming, and increased training for professionals and lay people. In the meantime, we are hopeful that this is a helpful first step for people with mental health struggles who need care, support, and an easier way to find assistance when they need it the most.

Stay safe. Stay well.

Those Nerdy Girls

Additional Links:

988 Lifeline website

SAMHSA Partner Toolkit

Story by NPR on the 988 Hotline

Challenges of rollout of 988 (TIME)

Link to Original FB Post