US designates 988 as new Suicide Prevention Lifeline

By Katelyn L. Teemley
Workforce Services & Development Directorate
July 26, 2022 

As of July 16, anyone experiencing a mental health crisis can now text or call 988 to receive crisis care.

Designed to be as quick and memorable as 911, the new three-digit 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline connects people who are suicidal or experiencing a mental health crisis to a mental health professional 24/7 anywhere in the United States.

DISA’s Office of Public Safety and Communications is overseeing the implementation of 988 across the Department of Defense. In collaboration with U.S. military services, federal authorities and the Department of Veterans Affairs, DISA is taking steps to make 988 available oversees as well. 

While the original National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-8255, will remain active, calls to this number as well as the Veterans Crisis Line will now be routed to 988. 


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 “If you are willing to turn to someone in your moment of crisis, 988 will be there," said Xavier Becerra, Department of Health and Human Services secretary. “988 won't be a busy signal and 988 won't put you on hold. You will get help.”

One of the goals of establishing 988 was to reduce the involvement of 911 and confrontations with law enforcement, neither of which were set up to handle mental health needs. People who call or text 988 will be connected to a trained counselor as part of an existing network of over 200 crisis call centers nationwide.

For most people who call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, the call alone is an effective intervention. For callers who need additional support such as in-person care, the trained counselors at the lifeline can connect that individual to those resources.

“Over time, the vision for 988 is to have additional crisis services available in communities across the country, much the way emergency medical services work,” said Miriam Delphin-Rittmon, Department of Health and Human Services assistant secretary for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

If you are struggling, do not suffer in silence. You are not alone. Help is out there, and resources are available.

For more information, visit 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at

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