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988 - The Number You Need to Know

In July 2022, the 10-digit (difficult to remember) National Suicide Prevention Lifeline changed to 988 (much easier!) and became the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. This is wonderful news, and yet 75% of Americans are not aware.

I hadn't heard about it, so I'm part of the 75%. I decided to do a test and asked a few people in my life if they'd ever heard of 988. No one else had either, so I'm blogging about it to spread the word.

What does 988 do?

The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, offers 24/7 call, text and chat access to trained crisis counselors who can help people experiencing suicidal, substance use, and/or mental health crisis, or any other kind of emotional distress. People can also call, text or chat 988 if they are worried about a loved one who may need crisis support.

What's the difference between 911 and 988?

This brochure from the Ohio Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services helps explain:

How 988 came about:

The National Suicide Hotline Improvement Act of 2018 required the Federal Communications Commission and other agencies to consider a three-digit telephone number for the hotline. On August 15, 2019, FCC staff recommended that the Commission designate the number 988.

Why it happened:

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.

Notice "growing" in that sentence. Our nation is in a mental health crisis that is fueling our addictions to controlled substances and alcohol. The following statistics are from the Addiction Center:

  • About 9.5 million   Americans who have a substance use disorder also have a mental illness.

  • Almost 21 million Americans have at least one addiction, yet only 10% of them receive treatment.

  • About 20% of American adults (about 28 million people) have an alcohol use disorder; only about 7% of those people ever get treatment.

Please help spread the word about 988!

If you or anyone you know is in crisis, please call 988 and get help.

All lives matter.

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