988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline: Implementation Resources

These resources can help state, tribal, and territorial organizations and their partners implement the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. They include implementation tools, guidance on messaging about 988, and recommendations for establishing crisis services infrastructure.

  • 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline: This webpage from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provides states, territories, tribes, mental health and substance use disorder professionals, and others with information on the background, history, funding opportunities, and implementation resources for strengthening suicide prevention and mental health crisis services through 988 implementation. The page includes a 988 Partner Toolkit, which contains communication outreach materials, including factsheets in English and Spanish, and can facilitate collaborative efforts among organizations and community coalitions to meet the needs of specific audiences.

  • The Lifeline and 988: This webpage contains basic information from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (Lifeline) about 988 implementation and links to brief information on the Lifeline crisis centers, the history and impact of the Lifeline, what happens when you contact the Lifeline, and grants to help states prepare for 988 implementation.

  • 988 Messaging Framework: This resource from the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention (Action Alliance), with support from Johnson & Johnson—Janssen, provides general guidance about how to develop messaging about 988. Developed in partnership with a 988 Messaging Task Force co-led by SAMHSA and Vibrant Emotional Health, the framework contains sections on what 988 is and how it works, best practices in messaging about it, how to reach a wide range of audiences, and how to tailor messaging to specific audiences. It also links to the one-hour webinar, “Aligning the Field Around a 988 Messaging Framework,” and a one-page 988 Media Toolkit.
  • Veterans Crisis Line 988 Webpage: Developed by the Veterans Crisis Line (VCL), which is operated and managed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, this webpage outlines how the transition to 988 impacts the VCL, and other frequently asked questions.

  • 988 - Transforming Crisis Systems Resources: The National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD) has collated resources to support state and territorial mental and behavioral health authorities, as well as their partners, in implementing and strengthening 988 crisis services systems. The resources include a paper on crisis services financing options for states and 988 implementation guidance playbooks for four different sectors.

  • How to Use 988 to Respond to Behavioral Health Crisis Calls: This two-page paper from the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) explains the rationale for establishing 988 and how it works. It also provides recommendations on how to prepare for successful implementation.

  • National Guidelines for Behavioral Health Crisis Care: Best Practice Toolkit: This Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) toolkit advances national guidelines in crisis care and supports program design, development, implementation, and continuous quality improvement efforts. The toolkit is intended to help mental health authorities, agency administrators, service providers, and state and local leaders think through and develop the structure of crisis systems that can meet community needs. It defines national crisis care guidelines, provides tips for implementing care that aligns with the guidelines, and provides tools to evaluate alignment of systems with national guidelines.

  • Crisis Now: Transforming Services is Within Our Reach: This report from the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention (Action Alliance) summarizes findings about effective and comprehensive crisis care, and the actions needed to bring it to communities across the U.S. It discusses a regional crisis call center with coordination of crisis care and real-time data management, mobile crisis teams, crisis stabilization facilities for short-term observations and support, the essential qualities of comprehensive crisis systems, and financing of and strategic directions for crisis care.

  • Civilian Crisis Response: A Toolkit for Equitable Alternatives to Police: Based on interviews with national subject matter experts and local program professionals with direct experience in crisis response operations, this toolkit from the Vera Institute of Justice (Vera) provides guidance on designing and delivering more equitable crisis response services in communities.