To help reduce the trauma and stigma surrounding mental health issues, Congress designated the 988 dialing code as an answer to the country’s mental health crisis. A toll-free phone call or text to 988 quickly connects at-risk individuals, including youth and individuals with disabilities, to confidential support and assistance through an emergency system similar to 911. Working with suicide prevention and mental health crisis counselors, individuals receive information about and referrals to local services.
The goal of this hotline with a dedicated three-digit dialing code is to increase the effectiveness of suicide prevention efforts, ease access to crisis services, and reduce the stigma surrounding suicide and mental health conditions.
“988” and its related online chat option at 988lifeline.org are open 24/7. Help is available in more than 200 languages via phone call. This simple code replaces the 10-digit toll-free number used by The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
Federal agencies launched the hotline during National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, to increase national efforts to destigmatize mental illness and enhance public awareness of health disparities, particularly in U.S. minority groups. The service became fully accessible on July 16, 2022.
Within weeks, there has been validation for this urgent connection to the crisis care system. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, there has been a 45% increase in calls and texts for help and connection to support services.
At Envision Unlimited, we believe helping facilitate access to support is vital to communities. We encourage advocates for people with disabilities, mental health issues, and other special needs to share information about this free crisis hotline.
While 988 is an immediate lifeline, if you or someone you know needs long-term support, we can help with an assessment. Call an Envision Unlimited intake coordinator today at 773-506-3161 or visit us here.