This Saturday, July 16, marks our country’s transition to 988 as the easy-to-remember number to reach the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Ahead of the implementation Saturday, we want to share a compilation of resources for your reference.

What is 988?

  • The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline (formerly known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline) is a network of more than 200 state and local call centers funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) through Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and administered by Vibrant Emotional Health.
  • 988 offers 24/7 access to trained crisis counselors who can help people experiencing suicidal, substance use and other mental health crises.
  • To reach the Lifeline, people can call or text 988 or chat at

More information:

  • Implementing 988 and Future Priorities – a resource created by National Council, in collaboration with NASHMPD, NACo, and Vibrant Emotional Health. This factsheet includes an overview of 988, a side-by-side comparison of 911 and 988 current capabilities, and next steps on how to expand access to crisis care.
  • SAMHSA’s 988 webpage, including information on understanding the background, history, funding opportunities, and implementation resources for strengthening suicide prevention and mental health crisis services.
  • Provider Playbook, including guidance around preparing for the 988 transition and best practices and examples seen in the field today.

What does the transition to 988 mean?

  • Saturday is just the beginning. It is an important step forward and offers an unprecedented opportunity to strengthen and transform crisis care in our country. There is still much work to be done at the federal, state and local levels to expand access to crisis care and expand capacity of the Lifeline and of care providers.
  • We anticipate that 988 will continue to grow and evolve over the years, much the way 911 and emergency medical services have grown over the past five decades. We do expect a more rapid 988 transition to occur to meet the expected demand for 24/7 access to trained counselors who can help people experiencing suicidal, substance use and other mental health crises.

What happens when you call/text/chat the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline?

  • Call: When you call 988, you will first hear a greeting message with the chance to press 1 for the VCL, 2 for Spanish, or stay on the line while your call is routed to your local Lifeline network crisis center. Then a trained crisis counselor will answer the phone, provide support, and share resources if needed.
  • Text: When you text 988 you will complete a short survey letting the crisis counselor know a little about your situation. You will be connected with a trained crisis counselor in one of our crisis centers who will answer the text, provide support, and share resources if needed.
  • Chat: Visit and find the chat button in the top right-hand corner of the screen. You will complete a short survey letting the crisis counselor know a little bit about your current situation. Then you’ll see a wait-time message while you are connected with a trained crisis counselor who will answer the chat, provide support, and share resources if needed.

Download Fact Sheets

The crisis care system is still underfunded. What is being done to address this in order to ensure someone using 988 has someone to talk to, someone to come to them, and somewhere to go?

  • Over time, the vision for 988 is to have additional crisis services available in communities across the country, much the way emergency medical services work.
  • President Biden just signed into law legislation that expands Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics nationwide, opening the opportunity for all states to apply to receive funding for CCBHCs. Learn more about CCBHCs and their crisis service capabilities and ability to expand access to care. Interested in exploring how to become a CCBHC? Contact
  • The National Council supports and advocates for the 9-8-8 Implementation Act, legislation that would help expand capacity across the crisis care system and provide more resources to states and organizations providing services.
  • For those interested in being a part of this live-saving work, there are volunteer and job opportunities available at crisis centers across the country. Visit SAMHSA’s 988 jobs siteto learn more.

Thanks for making it down to the end… we hope you find these resources useful. Questions? Don’t hesitate to reach out to the National Council or directly to SAMHSA: