The new 988 crisis number is about to launch. Here's what to know
Starting July 16, people in mental health crisis will have a new way to reach out for help. Instead of dialing the current 10-digit National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, they can simply call or text the numbers 9-8-8.
Modeled after 911, the new 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is designed to be a memorable and quick number that connects people who are suicidal or in any other mental health crisis to a trained mental health professional.
"If you are willing to turn to someone in your moment of crisis, 988 will be there," said Xavier Becerra, the secretary of health and human services, at a recent press briefing. "988 won't be a busy signal, and 988 won't put you on hold. You will get help."
The primary goal of the new number is to make it easier for people to call for help. But lawmakers and mental health advocates see this as an opportunity to transform the mental health care system and make behavioral health care easily accessible everywhere in the United States.