988 Mental Health Crisis Hotline Now Active

Photo by Davi Ozolin is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

The new 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline went live on July 16, 2022. By calling or texting 988, you will be immediately connected with a trained crisis counselor. The line is active 24/7 and everything will remain confidential unless immediate intervention is necessary. The 988 Lifeline is free and emotional support will be given to those who call. The previous 1-800-273-TALK (8255) number will continue to be live indefinitely. 

Who can call 988? Anyone who is experiencing or concerned about someone else experiencing suicidal thoughts or behaviors, substance use or abuse, emotional distress or a mental health crisis can call or text 988. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, use your relay service and dial 711 and then dial 988.

The Watchdog interviewed 24-year-old Megan Dickey about her thoughts on the updated Lifeline. “I heard about it from an Instagram post, I think the day it was announced. POTUS posted about it and that’s when I knew it was legit. I’m incredibly happy that the number is shorter than the old hotline so it’s easier to memorize. I’m sure Logic is sad it’s not the same as his most popular song title anymore.”

When asked how the Lifeline will impact Dickey, she said “I have had some low low’s, but never considered suicide. I hope I never get that low in the future, and if I do, I feel I may be too nervous to talk on the phone with a stranger about it.”

Regarding whether or not the updated Lifeline will help aid in mental health for our future, Dickey said that, “I think that the 988 number will get more calls than the older suicide hotline. My concern is that people won’t want to call in because if they threaten to act on their suicidal thoughts, the cops will be sent to their home. I know this is the best thing for them but they won’t want the cops to show up. I hope… people use the number if they feel that they are in a mental health crisis.”

Dickey ended the interview by saying, “I really hope that people take the crisis line seriously and use it only if they really need to… Suicide is the leading cause of death for people 10 to 35. Someone in the U.S. dies from suicide every 11 minutes. I think overall this number is going to do more good than harm.”

The Watchdog also interviewed Bellevue College student Katelyn about her thoughts on 988. “I think having this number constantly available is amazing. People dealing with mental illness often have a hard time at night or when their therapist isn’t available so having a hotline for mental health that’s easy to remember will probably save a lot of lives. Just knowing that there is always someone I can call if I’m struggling makes managing my mental health feel a lot easier.”

If you have any questions about the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, you can read the 988 frequently asked questions list.

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