Call if You Need Help: 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline Begins Saturday

Starting today, (Saturday, July 16), New Jerseyans join other states around the country in using the new, three-digit number 988 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Tpday marks a transition from the 10-digit National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to 988 an easy-to-remember number for 24/7 crisis care.

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. These trained counselors will listen, understand how their problems are affecting them, provide support, and connect them to resources if necessary.

The lifeline, which also links to the Veterans Crisis Line, follows a three-year joint effort by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to put crisis care more in reach for people in need.

The 10-digit Lifeline number 1-800-273-TALK (8255) will continue to be operational after July 16 and will route calls to 988 indefinitely. Veterans, service members, and their families can also still reach the Veterans Crisis Line with the current phone number 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, or by chat exit disclaimer icon or text to 838255.

The Lifeline’s network of over 200 crisis centers has been in operation since 2005, and has been proven to be effective. It’s the counselors at these local crisis centers who answer the contacts the Lifeline receives every day. Numerous studies have shown that callers feel less suicidal, less depressed, less overwhelmed and more hopeful after speaking with a Lifeline counselor.

  • If you need support
  • If you are having thoughts of suicide
  • If you need mental health-related crisis support
  • If you are worried about someone else
  • Please call or text 988 or visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline chat to connect with a trained crisis counselor.

The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a network of more than 200 state and local call centers. In 2021, the Lifeline received 3.6 million calls, chats, and texts. That number is expected to at least double within the first full year after the 988 transition.

The United States had one death by suicide every 11 minutes in 2020, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Suicide was the second leading cause of death for young people aged 10-14 and 25-34. From April 2020 to 2021, more than 100,000 people died from drug overdoses. Studies have shown that after speaking with a trained crisis counselor, most Lifeline callers are significantly more likely to feel less depressed, less suicidal, less overwhelmed, and more hopeful.

More information on 988 is available at www.samhsa.gov/988 and https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/988/faqs.

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