New suicide prevention hotline 988 leads to more contacts in first week

The new 988 Suicide & Crisis lifeline allows more people to reach out in times of distress.

More than 96,000 people have contacted the new crisis hotline since its launch on July 16, according to multiple reports.

This represents a 45% increase in contacts compared to the previous week with the old number, and a 66% increase in contacts compared to the same period last year.

The hotline is operated by the non-profit organization Vibrant Emotional Health on behalf of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Addiction and Mental Health Services Administration.

The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline – formerly known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – works with more than 200 local crisis centers across the country to provide free, confidential service 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Anyone dealing with a mental health, addiction or suicide crisis is encouraged to call, text or chat with a Lifeline representative.

The old 1-800-273-TALK number will also work indefinitely.