Tell Your Patients About “988,” an Expanded Crisis Hotline

July 15, 2022

The Illinois Department of Human Services/Division of Mental Health will soon be implementing 988, a new three-digit dialing code for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

The new number will not only make it easier for individuals to access the Lifeline, but will also offer additional services beyond a suicide prevention assistance. Those experiencing a crisis or other emotional distress, including substance use emergencies, can dial 988 for help.

Once operational, callers who are connected to the Lifeline will receive specialized, individualized support by call takers trained in suicide prevention, de-escalation, stabilization and other techniques for responding to mental health crises. This service also provides information and support to concerned family members, friends and caregivers.

The new three-digit code for the Lifeline, which is free and confidential, is scheduled to roll out tomorrow, July 16. Services will be available 24/7/365 and will also be offered in Spanish, along with interpretation services in more than 150 languages.

The current phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-8255) will continue to function even after the transition to 988.

If you have questions, please contact the ISMS Health Policy Research and Advocacy team by email.

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