A new era in addressing the problem of suicide in the U.S. dawns on July 16, 2022. That’s when the new three-digit code for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 988 – goes into effect nationwide.
Created by Congress in the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act of 2020, the new suicide and crisis intervention number connects callers with a network of 200 crisis centers around the country. Supporters say the new number will be easier to remember in a crisis situation, and will provide a mechanism to direct mental health-related calls to appropriate professionals who can really help.
While the Lifeline always has and will continue to offer 24/7 availability, the three-digit code offers phone, text, and chat options. Simply having access to readily available prevention resources can increase positive outcomes for all those touched by a mental health crisis.
On July 16, 2022 you will be able to dial, text, or chat 988 to reach the National Suicide Hotline. No more remembering long phone numbers.
Access to mental health services will be enhanced by the simpler number, and the most lasting positive impact may be connecting the individual in crisis with counselors and therapeutic professionals in real life sooner than before. Receiving validation and support through genuine connections can prevent a majority of suicides by providing opportunities for intervention and healing, safety planning, and empowerment in the future. For those who feel overwhelmed or helpless, having the ability to reach out immediately through a number that’s easy to remember can provide a lifeline of light and hope to those who feel they are surrounded by desperation and darkness.
For those of you who prefer to stick to the old 10 digit number, don’t worry – it will stay in effect as well. But 988 will be going into effect to make things easier for those who need help and and can’t remember all of those numbers!
TeenCentral will still be here for you to hear your stories and respond. We will continue to recommend the National Suicide Hotline when it’s appropriate to the content of those stories. We hope that this advancement will make things easier for people having dark moments.
Safety is paramount. We want you to be here, to grow up and to experience life. If we can help in some small way along that journey we are happy to do that! Stay well everyone.