New 3-digit suicide hotline coming in July

May 10, 2022 | 12:10 am

Updated May 9, 2022 | 8:57 pm

Beginning July 16, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline will have its own three-digit dialing code available across the entire United States. By calling or texting 9-8-8, individuals can connect with trained counselors that are part of the lifeline network. 

The present lifeline number of 1-800-273-8255 will remain in place even after 9-8-8 is launched nationally. The phone numbers exist to assist people in emotional distress or suicidal crisis. 

When a caller dials the lifeline, they are presented with simple prompts. If they do not press a prompt, they are immediately connected to their local crisis center. The prompts offer subnetwork options for veterans and Spanish-speaking individuals. 

When someone texts the number, they will complete a short survey to inform the counselor about the current situation. They are then connected with a trained counselor to better understand what the texter is experiencing, provide support, and connect them with appropriate resources. 


The lifeline’s network has been intact since 2005, boasting more than 180 crisis centers with counselors answering several calls daily. 

The organization’s website states that “numerous studies have shown that callers feel less suicidal, less depressed, less overwhelmed and more hopeful after speaking with a Lifeline counselor.”

Vibrant Emotional Health is the nonprofit administrator of the lifeline and has been supporting states’ implementation planning for 9-8-8 through various grants. 

Information for this article and much of the literature was pulled from the Suicide Prevention Center’s website. To learn more about 9-8-8, its implementation, and the network as a whole, visit their website here.

May 10, 2022 | 12:10 am

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