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988 suicide hotline made 5 million contacts in first year

The three-digit hotline replaced the old 1-800 number in July 2022 as the main source of contact for individuals in crisis.
988 suicide hotline made 5 million contacts in first year
Posted at 3:17 PM, Jul 14, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-14 15:47:05-04

Sunday marks one year since the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline was rolled out. 

The three-digit hotline replaced the old 1-800 number in July of last year as the main source of contact for individuals in crisis. 

In that time, the phone, text and chat service has made nearly 5 million contacts, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. 

The ease of texting and chatting with a counselor has proved successful. Texts to the hotline are up more than 1,100% in the past 12 months, according to federal officials. Chats are also up 141%, and calls to the hotline increased by 46%. 

The needs of varying populations have been identified over the past year, prompting officials to expand services. This month, text and chat services in Spanish were announced, as well as specialized services for LGBTQ+ individuals.

SEE MORE: How a 'silent crisis' is impacting men's mental health

The Veterans Crisis Line, which can be accessed by pressing option 1 after calling or texting 988, has been instrumental in providing support for military veterans. Officials said approximately 1 million of the nearly 5 million contacts were to the Veterans Crisis Line. 

"This new, shorter number has made it easier for those in crisis to connect with caring, qualified responders and access lifesaving support," said Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough.

The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline was the result of a 2019 bipartisan proposal in Congress to make it easier for people in need to access help. 

If you need to talk to someone, call the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988 or text "HOME" to the Crisis Text Line at 741741. 


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