Three-Digit National Suicide Prevention Number Established


OLYMPIA — A new nationwide three-digit number has been established for those needing assistance with a mental health crisis or thoughts of suicide, according to a press release from the Washington Department of Health.

Nationwide, those in such difficult situations may contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by dialing 988, similar to calling 911 in other emergencies. Previously, Americans would need to dial a full ten-digit hotline number in order to reach assistance in such emergencies. The hotline may still be reached by dialing 1-988-273-8255 — the last four digits in the number spell out the word talk on the keypad. The toll-free number, 1-800-273-8255, will remain active and the new number will not replace any existing crisis call centers, the press release said.

People can call or text 988, either for themselves or if they're worried about someone else. The 988 text feature will be available 24 hours per day, seven days per week.

Spanish speakers can call 988 or the 273 number and press 2 for the Spanish-language line. Text and chat are available in English only, the DOH release said.

Veterans and service members can reach the Veteran Crisis Line by pressing 1 after dialing or texting.

"When you are struggling, it makes all the difference in the world to know there is someone you can talk to who will listen and help you get the care you need—and that's what the 988 suicide and crisis lifeline is all about," said U.S. Senator Patty Murray, D-Wash., who helped with Congressional efforts to establish the 988 line and the funding for it.