National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline Shortens Its Number
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is now the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. What used to only be 1-800-273-TALK (8255) is now a nice and simple 988.
988 is the new three-digit designation that will route callers to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The change was put into effect on July 16th, 2022. Now, when people call, text or chat 988, they will be connected to trained counselors that are part of the existing Lifeline network. The trained counselors will listen, understand how their problems are affecting them, provide support, and connect them to resources if necessary.
What Does This Mean for the Old Number
The previous lifeline is not going anywhere. 1-800-273-8255 will remain available to people in emotional distress or suicidal crisis. Adding the 988 Lifeline is a means to help make reaching out for help easier while not eliminating prior means of communication. Since 2005, the Lifeline's network of over 200 crisis centers has been proven to be effective.
Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among young people. Prior to the pandemic, it was the 10th leading cause of death in the nation. In the United States, suicide takes more lives than car accidents, homicide, and AIDS deaths.
In the Lifeline's lifespan, it has received over 20 million calls from people in distress seeking support. Since its creation and 2005, the Lifeline has received more and more calls every year, 2021 being the highest it has ever received (2,565,402 calls).
Besides the pandemic, Lifeline call volume is impacted by awareness through social media, community events, and word-of-mouth. One could look at the numbers and say that more and more people have been in distress, but one can also see it as more people are aware of the program and have the resources to reach out.
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