What support is available through the 988 Lifeline?
Sep. 22 2023

What support is available through the 988 Lifeline?

Whatever time: Day. Night. Weekend. Whatever the reason: Mental health distress. Substance use crisis. Thoughts of suicide. The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is here for you. Text 988 | Call 988 | Chat 988lifeline.org

Simply calling or texting 988 or chatting 988lifeline.org will connect a person in crisis to compassionate care and support for any mental health or substance use-related distress. Anyone—a person in crisis, or someone supporting a person in crisis—can reach 988 in the United States through any landline, cell phone, and voice-over internet device.

With rising levels of anxiety, depression, emotional distress, and overdose deaths, it is crucial that people have somewhere to turn when they’re in crisis. Suicide is a leading cause of death in the United States. The number of people with a substance use disorder continues to increase. The 988 Lifeline is a direct connection to immediate and free support and resources for anyone in crisis.

And it works. About 98 percent of people who call, chat, or text the 988 Lifeline get the crisis support they need and do not require additional services in that moment. The 988 Lifeline is a key part of a broader vision for reimagined crisis care in the United States. Through federal, state, local, and community partnerships.

SAMHSA is working towards a vision where everyone has: • Someone to talk to • Someone to respond • A safe place for help

Frequently Asked Questions

What support is available through the 988 Lifeline? The 988 Lifeline offers free and confidential support for anyone in crisis. That includes people who need support for a suicidal, mental health and/or substance use crisis, or who are in emotional distress.

What happens when a person calls, texts, or chats? When a person calls or texts 988 or chats 988lifeline.org, they are connected with a crisis counselor who listens, tries to understand how the problem is affecting the person, provides support, and shares resources. 988 Lifeline crisis counselors are trained to help reduce the intensity of a situation for the person seeking help and connect them to additional local resources to support their wellbeing.

How does the 988 Lifeline protect the privacy of those who call, text, or chat?

When a person contacts the 988 Lifeline, they don’t have to say who or where they are to get support. The 988 Lifeline crisis counselor knows only the person’s phone number if they call or text, or their IP address if they use chat. No one is required to provide any personal information to receive the help from the 988 Lifeline.

How is 988 different from 911? The 988 Lifeline was established to improve access to immediate support to meet the nation’s growing mental health, suicide, and substance use distress needs. The 988 Lifeline provides easy access to emotional distress care, which is distinct from 911, where the focus is on dispatching emergency medical services, fire, and police, as needed. Only a small percent of 988 Lifeline calls require activation of the 911 system. Most of those are done with the consent and cooperation of the caller. This occurs when there is imminent risk to someone’s life that cannot be reduced during the call. In these cases, the crisis counselor shares information with 911 that is crucial to saving the caller’s life. SAMHSA is working towards a long-term vision of strong coordination between 988 and 911 so people in crisis get to the most appropriate care needed in that moment. SAMHSA is actively working with 911 counterparts at federal, state, and local levels as our country continues to improve response.

Urgent realities.

The United States is experiencing a suicidal, mental health, and substance use crisis:

  • In 2021, a person died by suicide every 11 minutes.
  • Suicide was the second-leading cause of death for people ages 10–14 and 25–34.
  • Suicide rates increased significantly among non-Hispanic Black & American Indian and Alaska Native people. • Nearly 900,000 youth ages 12–17 and 1.7 million adults attempted suicide.
  • 46.3 million people ages 12 or older had a substance use disorder in the past year.
  • In 2021, nearly 107,000 people died from a drug overdose.

Easier access. 988 is an easy-to-remember number that provides greater access to life-saving services. There is hope. Whether you’re experiencing thoughts of suicide, a mental health or substance use crisis, or any other kind of emotional distress, there is compassionate support available through the 988 Lifeline.