As of July 16, 2022, the United States has updated the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, available simply by calling 988. Shifting from a longer 1-800 number to a three-digit code is anticipated by experts to be easier to remember during a mental health crisis. Learn more about the new 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, as well as how you can support someone who may be considering self-harm or suicide.
What happens when you call 988?
When a person in crisis calls or texts the new 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, they are connected to a trained counselor who can listen to their concerns, provide support and connect them with resources as needed (not unlike the function of the Healthy365 Connection Center). The 988 Lifeline is available 24/7 and is staffed by counselors and trained volunteers at more than 200 crisis centers nationwide.
Why is the number changing?
Formerly known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, the 11-digit phone number could be cumbersome for some to remember, especially an individual in distress. So much so that popular music artists Logic, Juanes, Alessia Cara and Khalid collaborated on a song about the pain of suicidal feelings called “1-800-273-8255” in order to bring more awareness to the Lifeline and make it easier for people to recall in a crisis.
With a short three-digit code (similar to the 911 number that most people know by heart) the new Suicide & Crisis Lifeline expects to meet the growing need for mental health support in our country. However, the 1-800-273-8255 Lifeline phone number will remain available indefinitely to connect those in need with a trained counselor.
What is the point of the 988 Lifeline?
The ultimate goal of the Lifeline is to direct people who are in crisis to the care that is most appropriate for their situation. With the support of trained counselors, the official 988 Lifeline website reports that “numerous studies have shown that callers feel less suicidal, less depressed, less overwhelmed and more hopeful after speaking with a Lifeline counselor.”
This will also ideally minimize the contact they have with law enforcement, public health and the justice system. Did you know that the rate of mental illness in jails is at least three times higher than in the general population? With resources like the 988 Lifeline, we can help reduce the over-incarceration of people with mental illness & substance use disorders by keeping them out of the justice system in the first place.
How can you support someone who is feeling suicidal?
One of the ways that local residents can support someone in crisis is by taking a QPR training class. QPR stands for “Question, Persuade and Refer,” which are three steps you can take to assist someone who is considering self-harm or suicide. Just like CPR, QPR is an emergency response that you can learn to save someone’s life. We host QPR suicide prevention trainings at the Healthy365 Connection Center and across Central Indiana on a regular basis, with our next class taking place on Sept. 12 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Hope Center Indy (11850 Brookville Rd, Indianapolis, IN 46239). You can register for QPR training online or contact our Healthy365 Support Navigators at 317-468-4231 to learn more.