In December 2004, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline was introduced in the United States. The purpose of this hotline was to provide crisis services for those struggling with severe mental health issues, especially suicidal thoughts or intentions. However, a common barrier to accessing this resource was people’s ability to remember the 10-digit 800 number to call. Starting on July 16, 2022, the lifeline will be removing this roadblock by introducing the number 988 for mental health crisis services. People nationwide will now be able to call 988 to access the hotline.
What Is the Suicide Hotline?
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a designated crisis resource for people in the United States. The hotline offers free, confidential support for those in crisis 24 hours per day, seven days a week. Trained volunteers and staff also provide resources to people in distress, loved ones, or professionals. When someone calls the lifeline, they are connected to their local crisis center to ensure they receive resources relevant to their geographic location. This service has been a staple in mental health care for many years and, to date, has fielded over 20 million calls.
The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline
The change from a 10-digit 800 number to 988 came about through advocacy and a fight for access to services. Children and adults alike can recite the nationwide emergency number, 911, without a second thought. This ensures people get the medical and physical help they need quickly. Now, mental health crisis care hopes to provide the same immediate support.
In addition to dialing 988, the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline also allows for conversations by texting the same number.
988 and Substance Use Disorders
Despite being known as the Suicide Hotline, the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline isn’t limited to immediate crises. The counselors who field these calls are trained in suicide prevention as well as mental health and substance use disorder support. For people who struggle with an addiction, this support could be:
- Relapse prevention
- Accountability conversations
- Connection to resources
- Emotional distress related to relapse
While these counselors are capable of managing difficult situations, this lifeline is not a replacement for emergency services. If there is any immediate danger to a person’s life, they should call 911.
Addiction Treatment at Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers
Crisis lines and services provide immediate support for people struggling with mental health or substance use disorders. However, they are limited in the services they can provide.
If you’re struggling with an addiction, our residential treatment program at Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers can provide the intensive care you need. Our treatment model emphasizes your unique experiences by taking the time to get to know you personally and planning care around this. Our center provides a space where you can fully focus on recovery, without the distractions of day-to-day life.
If you’re ready to take the next step in your recovery, contact our admissions team today.