JUST RELEASED: 988 Formative Research on Trusted Messengers

May 24, 2024

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark Announcement

New critical research and communications tools for 988 are now available. These novel resources are focused on engaging the trusted messengers that people turn to for reliable, unbiased information and help when they are struggling with their mental health or in crisis.

This study from the Ad Council Research Institute (ACRI), in partnership with SPRC and the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention (Action Alliance), follows crucial findings released in late 2023 about the public’s awareness, perspectives, and current and potential use of 988, the national three-digit hotline for mental health and suicide prevention. 

In the first phase of research, participants indicated that, when they are struggling with their mental health or in crisis, they most often turn to their spouse/partner, mother, siblings, and friends for help and advice. These trusted messengers are also the ones that participants said they would most trust for information on 988, indicating the messengers’ vital role in helping to encourage, recommend, and influence their loved ones and close connections to seek support through 988.

As part of the 988 Formative Research Project’s ongoing efforts, a toolkit for culturally relevant communications is also available. This toolkit is a comprehensive guide for individuals and organizations on how to effectively communicate about the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline to trusted messengers of populations disproportionally impacted by suicide. The toolkit offers insights on key messaging values and principles, as well as specific messaging strategies tailored for different messenger groups. 

Access the full report and communications toolkit today.