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New national hotline offers mental health support

GEHA | August 22, 2022

Three-digit 988 phone number offers quick access to suicide prevention.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline recently changed from a 1-800 number to a three-digit dialing code. The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline has been designated to supply 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress. It can also be used as an emergency resource for family members trying to help a loved one in mental health crisis.

Similar to how people have become accustomed to dialing 911 for medical emergencies, it is hoped the 988 number will help route callers in emergency to the appropriate mental health care.

This new 988 number is active across the United States. The shorter phone number will make it easier for people to remember and access mental health crisis services.

When people call, text or chat 988, they will be connected to trained counselors who are part of the existing Lifeline network. (Please note that the previous Lifeline number of 800.273.8255 will continue to work indefinitely). Trained counselors will listen to callers, understand how their problems are affecting them, provide support and connect the caller to resources if necessary.

The Lifeline’s network of over 200 crisis centers has been in operation since 2005 and has been proven to be effective. It has received more than 23 million calls since inception.

Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among young people. Every year in the United States, more people die by suicide than in car accidents.

If you or someone you know is in mental health emergency, don’t wait for help. Dial 988 for immediate emergency crisis counseling.

For more information or to chat with 988 online, visit