New 988 number for mental health crises launches Saturday

Published: Jul. 11, 2022 at 7:35 AM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - A new three-digit number that connects callers directly to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline will go online Saturday.

The line will connect callers to trained counselors who will listen, provide support, and work to understand the mental health problems these callers are experiencing, and connect them to resources.

It’s no secret that people with mental illness don’t get the help they need when they experience a crisis. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline has proven effective since its establishment in 2005. The three-digit number 988, similar to 911, will make it even easier for folks across the country to connect with help near them.

The Lifeline has a network of counselors at local crisis centers who answer the contacts the Lifeline receives every day. Numerous studies have shown that callers feel less suicidal, less depressed, less overwhelmed, and more hopeful after speaking with a Lifeline counselor.

In Alabama, this 988 number has provided an opportunity to create a commission whose sole purpose is to ensure crisis services are available and adequately funded to serve people in this state.

The current Lifeline phone number, 1-800-273-8255, will always remain available to people in emotional distress or suicidal crisis, even after 988 is launched nationally.

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