“The historic transition to 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline will help more people in crisis connect to resources and get the support they need.”
- Miriam E. Delphin-Rittmon, Ph.D., Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
In August 2022, the first full month following the national 988 rollout, the program was able to support 45% more people than the same month last year
From Thursday, July 14 - Wednesday, July 20 (transition week), the 988 Lifeline received over 96,000 calls, texts, and chats
In July 2021, the U.S. transitioned the 10-digit National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, administered by Vibrant since 2005, to 988 – an easy-to-remember three-digit number for 24/7 crisis care. The lifeline, which also links to the Veterans Crisis Line, follows a three-year joint effort by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to put crisis care more in reach for people in need. This initiative is part of President Biden’s strategy to address our nation’s mental health crisis, and was supported by the leadership of HHS Secretary Xavier Bacerra and Assistant Secretary Miriam Delpin-Rittmon.
The historic transition of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to a three-digital national suicide prevention number, 9-8-8, was made possible thanks to the collaboration, expertise and dedication of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) and our partners, with Vibrant being a leader in this effort.
Signed into law in 2020, the National Suicide Hotline Improvement Act designated SAMSHA as the lead federal agency to oversee the transition to 988 as the nation’s suicide crisis line. We worked closely with a range of partners to make this multi-year transition come to life, including the Federal Communications Commission, the Department of Veterans Affairs, Vibrant and its network of more than 200 crisis call centers across the country. We also collaborated with all 50 U.S. states, territories and tribes, providing them with an additional $105 million in funding to help shore up their own crisis call centers, ensuring that they had enough staff to be able to answer the volume of calls we anticipated coming in when 988 launched.
Vibrant’s behavioral health staff played a leading role in developing metrics around answer rates for calls, texts and chats and producing helpful resources for call centers, such as FAQs and other guidance documents related to implementing elements of 988. Vibrant also helped SAMSHA to determine how best to expand and improve the crisis call network’s infrastructure, including the backup centers.
The training and technical assistance provided up to this point—which Vibrant helped SAMSHA to lead—has already had immediate, positive impacts. Within the first month of 988 going live, we’ve seen a 45% increase in calls, texts and chats; that’s about 152,200 additional calls, texts and chats. And we’ve learned that about 80% of the texts and chats to 988 are from individuals younger than 25. This early data demonstrates that people are reaching out to get the support they need, and that 988 is saving lives.
We’re so appreciative of our partnership with Vibrant—and all our partners—who have helped to make 988 happen and that are helping people in crisis be seen, be heard, and be well.