When we’re experiencing an emotional or mental crisis, we need to be able to access the help we deserve quickly and easily. And the crisis counselor and resources have to be spot-on. 988 is a go on July 16.

First and foremost, it’s time to make a 988 call if you’re to any degree thinking about suicide or concerned about someone else.

I’ve provided contact information for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline numerous times. In fact, here it is again…

800.273.TALK (8255) and for live chat and information: suicidepreventionlifeline.org

Perhaps you’ve used it or provided the contact information to someone in need.

988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is introducing a new – quicker, easier, more effecient – way to connect calls and texts to the Lifeline.

988 will be ready for use on July 16, 2022.

The old Lifeline number and website with chat option will continue to be available, as will 24/7 access and excellent translation services.

Just like before, when you use 988 a trained crisis counselor will offer emotional and mental support and connect you with indicated resources.

And keep in mind, the Lifeline is comprised of more than 200 crisis centers. That means there’s an emphasis on locally available help.

When should you call 988?

i don't want to kill myself

July 16, 2022

First and foremost, it’s time to make a 988 call if you’re to any degree thinking about suicide or concerned about someone else.

Beyond that absolute necessity, there are no specific requirements for calling.

Reasons to call

It isn’t all inclusive, but here’s a list of reasons people call the Lifeline…

  • Active thoughts or plans of suicide
  • Suicidal ideation – having thoughts you’d like to die
  • Self-harm or wanting to hurt yourself
  • Struggles with substance use
  • Financial stress
  • Relationship problems
  • Dealing with abuse or domestic violence
  • LGBTQIA+ support
  • Emotional/mental and physical health struggles
  • Loneliness and isolation
  • Concern about a friend, family member, client, or others

Got it?

988 FAQs

Let’s take a look at some answers to a handful of FAQs. I’ll line you up with a link at the end so you can go through the full list…

  • You’re not required to share any personal details to use the Lifeline. But even if you do the call is confidential. That changes, however, under certain circumstances. For instance, if you’re in immediate danger of harming yourself or others, staff may request a wellness check by public safety officials.
  • The 988 and 911 systems will be closely coordinated. However, 911 only becomes involved when there’s imminent risk to someone’s life that can’t be reduced during a call.
  • The Lifeline works. Numerous studies have shown that most Lifeline callers are significantly more likely to feel less depressed, less suicidal, less overwhelmed, and more hopeful after speaking to a Lifeline crisis counselor.
  • The Lifeline currently serves TTY users through their preferred relay service or by dialing 711 then 1.800.273.TALK (8255). Services are also available through chat and text. Lifeline is in the process of expanding to video phone service to better serve deaf or hard of hearing individuals.
  • The Lifeline will be available in all 50 states and 5 territories. Of course, the caller has to have access to cellular or internet service.

Perhaps that gives you a bit more insight into the workings of 988 and the Lifeline.

The help we deserve

We’re human, so emotional and mental crises happen. We can handle some of them on our own; however, others exceed our ability to cope.

988 makes accessing the help we deserve quicker and easier. We’ll look forward to July 16.

Much more 988 information from SAMHSA. And those FAQs.

Here are some suicide-related Chipur articles you may find interesting and helpful…

Suicide Prevention: Guidance for family and friends

Saving People from Suicide: An occasional letter?

“I’m so tired of it all.”

And if you’re still in the mood for some reading, there are hundreds of Chipur mood and anxiety disorder info and inspiration articles waiting for you.

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