Dial 988 for the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline

Published 1:24 pm Monday, August 14, 2023

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July 16 marked one year since the U.S. instituted the phone number 988 — the easy-to-remember, nationwide mental health crisis helpline.

A Harbor Point Behavioral Health Center news release noted that 988 connects callers with the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, formerly known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. 

Congress designated 988 in 2020, and as a part of the federal government’s commitment to addressing the mental health crisis in America, unprecedented federal resources have been invested to scale up crisis centers in support of 988.

The phone number is confidential, free and available 24/7/365, connecting those experiencing a mental health, substance use or suicidal crisis with trained crisis counselors. Access is available through every landline, cellphone and voice-over internet device in the U.S. and call/text services are also available in Spanish, along with interpretation services in more than 150 languages.


Since the launch of 988 in 2022, data show an increase in overall calls, texts and chats — all while answer rates are significantly improving. More people are getting connected to care (and connected sooner) than ever before.

The following is according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration:

  • 98% of people who contact 988 are helped by a trained crisis counselor, resources are shared and community connections made (without the involvement of 911) during the call/text/chat.
  • 9,360 is the average number of daily contacts to 988.
  • About 1% of people who contact 988 agree to have their crisis counselor call 911 because of serious risk to life.
  • In fewer than 1% of 988 calls, the crisis counselor must call 911 without consent because of serious risk to life.


If someone is experiencing an emotional crisis or thoughts of suicide, they should call 988 or seek help at a licensed behavioral health facility.

Harbor Point Behavioral Health Center CEO Freddie Anderson Jr. said, “As a behavioral health care provider right here in Hampton Roads, our team at Harbor Point Behavioral Health Center is dedicated to support children and adolescents in a manner that promotes hope, resiliency, connectedness and recovery. We are proud to partner with the local 988 network and are a resource for individuals referred for help. We appreciate the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of those in need.”