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Jul 29, 2022

988 Suicide Prevention Hotline Operational

Beginning on July 16th, 2022, the 988 Hotline began rolling out, connecting individuals experiencing a mental health crisis to trained mental health professionals. In 2020, Congress passed the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act of 2020 (S.2661) which established ‘988’ as the universal dialing code for national suicide and crisis prevention.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA), with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), led a study to determine the feasibility of a ‘911’ for suicide prevention and mental health. This study found that the former National Suicide Prevention Lifeline's wait time was too long and had a high unanswer rate.

The 988 Hotline will connect those experiencing a mental health crisis to a trained counselor and provide immediate help and resources for continued care. Further, 988 will reduce the use of law enforcement, public health and other public emergency services that historically experience overwhelmed system capacity. 988 will help reduce the stigma and barriers to access for those seeking mental health care and increase accessibility, especially for those in underserved communities (BIPOC, LGBTQ+, rural and impoverished communities, immigrants, etc.).

Anyone experiencing mental health crisis can call, text or chat ‘988’ to be connected to critical and life-changing services.

If you have any questions or would like to become involved in our advocacy efforts, please contact the ACA Government Affairs and Public Policy team at advocacy@counseling.org.

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