NEWS: Mental Health Hotline 988

Let’s face it—even the strongest person can crack. I bet everyone has been stricken with an “in-the-moment” moment. If not yet, you will be whether you want to admit it or not.

When it does, there’s a confidential lifeline for you. Call 9-8-8, Mental Health Hotline 988. 

Having a mental health crisis has a new easy-to-remember, three-digit tool to get 24/7 help: Dialing 9-8-8. The 988 Lifeline is not new, though the 988 digits are. The number is meant to replace the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-TALK), though 800-273-TALK will remain active.

Note: The new 988 line is not solely for suicide prevention. I like this distinction. Federal officials say it’s for anyone experiencing mental health related distress, whether that is thoughts of suicide, a mental health or substance use crisis, or any other kind of emotional distress. People also may dial 988 if they are worried about a loved one who may need crisis support.

Most calls to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline historically have been resolved through the phone call itself, without needing to dispatch a mobile crisis response. The vast majority of calls don’t have to have a higher level of care, which is reassuring.

Make sure to spread this good news.


Debbie Petrina
Author of Managing MS