Suicide and Crisis Lifeline available by dialing or texting 988

January 21, 2023

If you or someone you know is thinking of self-harming, help is just three digits away on your phone. The Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is now reachable by call or text at 988. Chat services are available through the service’s website. Help is available in more than 240 languages, and there are services for the hearing impaired by dialing 711 then 988.

“When people call, text, or chat 988, they will be connected to trained counselors that are part of the existing Lifeline network,” the website says. “These trained counselors will listen, understand how their problems are affecting them, provide support, and connect them to resources if necessary.”

The National Suicide Hotline Designation Act, federal legislation designating 988 as the three-digit dialing code for the Lifeline, was signed into law in October 2020.


“This triumph was the outcome of many years of activism by the mental health community for the creation of an easy-to-remember telephone number that would increase accessibility of the Lifeline,” the service says.

According to the CDC, there were 45,979 deaths by suicide in 2020, which is the most recent data available. That is one death every 11 minutes. The Lifeline says for every death, another 316 people seriously consider suicide.

The Lifeline says it has received more than 23 million contacts from people in distress, “looking for help when they need it most.” Of those, nearly 90,000 calls originated in Illinois. People who contact the lifeline are counseled immediately and then referred to support services available nearby their location.

The Lifeline lists the following as warning signs that someone may be considering suicide.

  • Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves
  • Looking for a way to kill themselves, like searching online or buying a gun
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
  • Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Withdrawing or isolating themselves
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
  • Extreme mood swings

If you fear someone you know may be thinking of taking their own life, you can also utilize 988 to get guidance.


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