Here's the 411 on the New 988 Suicide and Mental Health Hotline

As of July 16, 2022, people struggling with mental health crises can now call 988, a new number focused on providing lifesaving suicide prevention and crisis services. However, 988 isn’t just a shorter, easier-to-remember replacement for the current suicide hotline. Congress and the FCC established the 988 Lifeline to address longstanding concerns in mental healthcare. The soon-to-be old number has been operational since 2005, but it’s not going away just yet. The system behind it, including its 200 call centers, doesn't always have the staff or technology to handle the growing number of calls. Incoming calls often bunch up, creating a telephone logjam that leaves callers waiting on hold for too long. The shift to 988 will not only allow for more staff to handle the calls, it will also provide operators who speak both English and Spanish, a telephone interpreter service in over 150 additional languages, and the use of chat and texting for help. The goal of the 988 Lifeline is creating equity in mental health services, especially for those who haven’t always had consistent or reliable access to mental healthcare.