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National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Launches ‘988’ – Black Health Matters

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline started in 2005 and is funded by SAMHSA. However, in 2020, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission’s leaders voted to finalize 988. 988 is a more manageable number to remember for a mental health crisis, similar to how people dial 911 for medical emergencies.

In 2021, the call line received 3.6 million calls, chats, and texts. And unfortunately, that number is expected to double in the first full year after the 988 transitions. Understandably, there is concern about call centers not being fully ready for an anticipated influx of calls.

The federal government and Vibrant are preparing for the nationwide implementation of the three-digit number. They are providing grants to states to support call centers and actively trying to recruit more crisis counselors. For more information or updates about 988, then visit


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