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New 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline offers easier option for emergency care

  • Published
  • 75th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Hill Air Force Base – A new 988 telephone number became operational July 16, designated as the new three-digit dialing code that routes callers to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

The Lifeline provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, across the United States.

When people call, text, or chat 988, they will be connected to trained counselors who are part of the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline network. Trained counselors will listen and work to understand how their problems are affecting them, provide support, and connect them to resources if necessary.

The current Lifeline phone number (1-800-273-8255) will always remain available to people in emotional distress or suicidal crisis.

The Lifeline’s network of more than 200 crisis centers has been in operation since 2005. Numerous studies have shown that callers feel less suicidal, less depressed, less overwhelmed and more hopeful after speaking with a Lifeline counselor.

The 988 expansion will also address the need for ease of access for military veterans, service members and their families in times of crisis.

Veterans can use this new option by dialing 988 then pressing 1 to contact the Veterans Crisis Line. Veterans may still reach the Veterans Crisis Line with the current phone number — 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1 — through chat, and by text (838255).

Veterans Crisis Line responders have training in crisis intervention and military culture.

More information and suicide prevention resources can be found at 988lifeline.org.

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. This is a time to further make concerted efforts to talk about things to become aware and remove stigma. Seeking support and a regular check-up for emotional well-being is as important as routine dental, health and eye exams. No one would be faulted for having any physical ailments and emotional well-being would ideally be treated in the same regard. While any of these can impact functioning, getting proper support will allow for treatment to get back to ultimate condition. Generally things don’t go away on their own. Life a pulled tendon or toothache, treatment and time to recuperate are what is needed. With appropriate early intervention, in most cases there are little long lasting effects. The same can be said for emotional well-being.

If you know someone, or if you yourself are experiencing some issues, reach out to support personnel such as the Chaplain, DPH, PHAP, MFLC, or one of the many resources available. In case of a mental health crisis, call or text 988 immediately. This number is available 24/27 to anyone in any area. Take good care of yourself and look out for one another.