New 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline offers easier option for emergency care 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs
JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO, Texas – A new 988 telephone number became operational July 16, designated as the new three-digit dialing code that routes callers to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The Lifeline provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, across the United States. When people call, text, or chat 988, they will be connected to trained counselors who are part of the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline network. Trained counselors will listen and work to understand how their problems affect them, provide support, and connect them to necessary resources. The current Lifeline phone number (1-800-273-8255) will always remain available to people in emotional distress or suicidal crisis. The Lifeline’s network of more than 200 crisis centers has been in operation since 2005. Numerous studies have shown that callers feel less suicidal, less depressed, less overwhelmed and more hopeful after speaking with a Lifeline counselor. The 988 expansion will also address the need for ease of access for military veterans, service members and their families in times of crisis. Veterans can use this new option by dialing 988 and then pressing 1 to contact the Veterans Crisis Line. Veterans may still reach the Veterans Crisis Line with the current phone number — 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1 — through chat, and by text (838255). Veterans Crisis Line responders have training in crisis intervention and military culture. More information and suicide prevention resources can be found at 988lifeline.org.