988 is free, confidential, and available 24/7.
Simply call or text 988—or chat online at 988Lifeline.org—to connect with care and support during a mental health or substance use crisis.
If you or someone you know is in immediate danger of harming themselves, please call 911.
What is 988?
The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline (formerly known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline) offers 24/7 call, text and chat access to trained crisis counselors.
These trained crisis counselors are there to help if you’re experiencing:
A mental health crisis
A substance use crisis
A suicidal crisis
You can also dial 988 if you’re worried about a loved one who may need crisis support.
Numerous studies have shown that most Lifeline callers are significantly more likely to feel less depressed, less suicidal, less overwhelmed, and more hopeful after speaking to a Lifeline crisis counselor.
988’s trained counselors are available whenever you need them, wherever you are.
They help thousands of people overcome suicidal crisis situations and mental-health-related distress every day—and they’re there for you right now.
Find Local Mental Health and Substance Use Treatment Services
We’ll help you connect with affordable, high-quality mental health and substance use treatment services right here in your community.
Frequently Asked Questions About 988
What happens when you call 988?
You’ll hear a greeting message while your call is routed to your local Lifeline network crisis center, which is based on the area code of the cell phone being used). If your local crisis center is unable to take the call, you’ll be automatically routed to a national backup crisis center.
Next, a trained crisis counselor will answer the phone. They’ll listen to you, work to understand how your problem is affecting you, provide support, and share resources that may be helpful to you.
What happens when you text 988?
You’ll get a response from a group of Lifeline crisis centers that answer both chats and texts. Once you’re connected, a crisis counselor will listen to you, work to understand how your problem is affecting you, provide support, and share resources that may be helpful. Currently, texting is available in English only.
In what languages are 988 services available?
Live crisis center calling services are available in English and Spanish, with the ability for Language Line Solutions to provide translation services in over 250 additional languages.
Text and chat are currently available in English only.
If I contact 988 for help, will I be hospitalized?
All Lifeline crisis centers adhere to the Lifeline’s Imminent Risk Policy, which means crisis center staff work through active engagement to provide support and assistance for people at risk in the least restrictive setting possible. Most contacts with the Lifeline are resolved by the Lifeline itself, by chat or phone, in a manner that does not require additional immediate intervention.
Will my call to the Lifeline be recorded?
The Lifeline greeting states that calls may be monitored or recorded for quality assurance purposes. Additionally, crisis centers in the Lifeline network may independently use call recordings for training purposes, depending on the best practices of the center.
It’s also important to note that people contacting 988 are not required to provide any personal data to receive services. SAMHSA recognizes the importance and the expectation of privacy when a person contacts 988. The network system has several safeguards to address concerns about privacy.
What measures are in place to protect data privacy of users of 988?
People contacting 988 are not required to provide any personal data to receive services. SAMHSA recognizes the importance and the expectation of privacy when a person contacts 988. The network system has several safeguards to address concerns about privacy.
Any effort to obtain demographic information from those who use 988 will serve three primary purposes: To save lives, to connect people to ongoing supports, and to evaluate system needs and performance, particularly ensuring that gaps and inequities are being addressed.
Can 988 accommodate those who are hard of hearing or blind?
The Lifeline currently serves TTY users either through their preferred relay service, or by dialing 711, then 1-800-273-8255. Lifeline also offers services through chat and text.
What training do Lifeline crisis counselors receive?
Currently, the Lifeline requires that all network centers adhere to specific standards regarding Suicide Risk Assessment and Imminent Risk interventions. However, each crisis center also develops their own specific training to meet organizational needs. Additional training is being developed to address the specific needs of populations at higher risk of suicide.
If I call 988, will my crisis counselor be trained on cultural competency?
In 2021, several activities addressed this, including updating pages on the Lifeline website and creating specific tools for crisis counselors, such as Spanish-language clinical guidance resources, Deaf and Hard of Hearing best practices for callers/chat visitors, an LGBTQ+ guidance document, an American Indian/Alaskan Native tip sheet and more. Further efforts are ongoing.
If 988 routes by area code, what happens if I call from a number that doesn’t reflect the area code where I’m located?
Currently, Lifeline calls are routed to the closest center based upon the area code of the cell phone being used. SAMHSA and federal partners are exploring opportunities to address more accurate routing of calls. A counselor may ask a caller for their location in an emergency situation or to provide local referrals.
This campaign was supported by funds made available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Center for State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support, under 93.391. The content of this advertisement are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of or endorsement by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.