988 Mental Health Line Receives Over Two Million Calls and Texts in Six Months

February 10, 2023

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News

PBS NewsHour

In the six months after its transition to a three-digit number, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline received more than two million calls, texts, and chat messages. At the end of 2022, the Lifeline and the Veterans Crisis Line—which can be reached by calling or texting 988 and pressing 1—saw increased call volume compared to the same period in 2021. “It does let us know that people are struggling, people are having a hard time,” said Miriam Delphin-Rittmon, assistant secretary for mental health and substance use in the Department of Health and Human Services. “Where I feel heartened is that people are getting connected to services and supports, as opposed to struggling on their own.” The number of 988 centers taking calls in Spanish has also grown, with plans to launch Spanish text and chat options later this year. A new pilot line for LGBTQ youth may also be expanded, and some states are considering dedicated lines for certain populations, like Washington’s crisis line for American Indian and Alaska Native people.

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