As of July 16, 2022, what was previously known as the National Suicide Prevention Hotline donned a new name, Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, and number, 988. Previously, the hotline could be reached at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) and will remain available in addition to the introduction of 988. The new number will make it easier to remember and increase access to trained counselors for those in need of help during a mental health crisis.
The hotline is a free and confidential service that is provided by a network of local crisis centers throughout the country. It is available 24/7 to anyone in need of support–not just for those who are suicidal. According to the associated website (988lifeline.org), people have called for emotional support regarding “substance abuse, economic worries, relationships, sexual identity, getting over abuse, depression, mental and physical illness, and loneliness”.
In addition to calling, people can also text 988 or visit the website to chat with someone online.
Signs of someone needing help include:
- Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves
- Looking for a way to kill themselves, like searching online or buying a gun
- Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
- Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
- Talking about being a burden to others
- Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
- Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Withdrawing or isolating themselves
- Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
- Extreme mood swings
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, call your doctor or reach out to someone you trust. You can also call or text the Lifeline Center at 988 on behalf of you or someone else.