National Suicide Prevention Lifeline becomes 988 on July 16

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline will use 988 as its official dialing code beginning July 16, 2022. The old 10-digit number will continue to operate.

A tweet posted on June 6 which has since gotten nearly 40,000 retweets alerted people that the suicide prevention lifeline number would change in July. According to the screenshot of the tweet, the number would change from 800-273-8255 to 988.

One of VERIFY’s followers on Instagram also flagged the change and attached the same screenshot used in the viral tweet to ask if the number really changed.

THE QUESTION

Is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number changing to 988?

THE SOURCES

THE ANSWER

Yes, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number is changing to 988. Even after the change, the lifeline will still accept calls made to the old 10-digit number.

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WHAT WE FOUND

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website confirms that 988 will connect everyone in the United States to the lifeline starting July 16, 2022. People will be able to call, text or start a chat through 988 .

This change will not delete the old number. 988 and 1-800-273-8255 will be connected to the same suicide prevention lifeline.

“Lifeline’s current phone number (1-800-273-8255) will always remain available for those in emotional distress or in a suicidal crisis, even after the nationwide launch of 988,” said National Suicide Prevention. Lifeline.

In October 2020, the federal government passed legislation requiring the lifeline to be moved to 988.

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“It is essential to move the National Suicide Hotline from cumbersome 10 digits to a universal, easy-to-remember, 3-digit phone number and connect those in crisis with life-saving resources,” the text reads. of the National Suicide Hotline. The designation law of 2020 says switch.

As part of the transition to 988, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is also requiring text providers to support sending direct text messages to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline via 988. Prior to July 16, the only available text option was via online chats.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline was launched by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and Vibrant Emotional Health in 2005. The funding, which is nearly 10 times the $24 million Lifeline received over the fiscal year 2021, will be used to improve state crisis call center services, increase capacity to meet an expected increase in demand, and improve the centers’ local texting and chat. response capabilities.

The three largest wireless carriers have already made 988 available to most, if not all, of their customers.

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T-Mobile became the first major wireless service provider to support 988, directly connecting customers who dialed the three-digit code to Lifeline as early as November 20, 2020. Verizon announced that its customers could access the Lifeline via 988 on December 21. 2020. On July 1, 2021, AT&T announced that 988 was active for 99% of its wireless customers, and would be active for all customers by the July 16 deadline.

Until the nationwide change is made, anyone facing a crisis is advised to call Lifeline’s current number, 1-800-273-8255.

More CHECK: No, answering a phone call from a telemarketer does not remove you from the do not call registry.

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