JED Supports New 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline

Many people experiencing mental health-related distress are not receiving the support and care they need. For this reason, it is critical to provide equitable and centralized access to trained mental health professionals across America.

In 2020, a person died by suicide almost every 11 minutes in the United States (CDC)—and for 15- to 24-year-olds, suicide became the third-leading cause of death (SAVE). Additionally, more than 91,000 people died from substance misuse (CDC).

But now, access to care is only three numbers away.

Beginning July 16, 2022, the public can text or call the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. This three-digit dialing code connects to the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and is intended for anyone with mental health-related distress—such as suicidal ideation, substance misuse, or other kinds of emotional distress. People can also dial 988 if they are worried about a loved one who may need crisis support.

988 provides an opportunity to improve the nation’s response to mental health crises by reducing law enforcement involvement, which can sometimes result in injury or death. According to The Washington Post’s “Fatal Force” data tracker, 14% of Americans killed by police officers in 2021 had been diagnosed with mental illness.

For this reason, it is critical for 988 to partner with community-based providers who can deliver a full range of crisis care services, such as mobile crisis teams or stabilization centers.

The Jed Foundation (JED) fully supports 988’s efforts on the national, state, and local levels to build a better crisis response system. The 24/7, free and confidential lifeline will deliver a long-term promise to support mental health in every community. 

988 will potentially help thousands of individuals, every day, overcome crisis circumstances. JED will continue to encourage local governments to prioritize the necessary funding and staffing to ensure the initiative’s long-term viability and success.

JED CEO John MacPhee recently spoke with ABC News about 988. In the nationwide interview, MacPhee called 988 a “tremendous opportunity for our country to improve mental health responses for people who are in crises.” 

Here are some additional resources to help you or a loved one navigate a mental health-related crisis:

 

Get Help Now

If you or someone you know needs to talk to someone right now, text HOME to 741-741 or call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for a free confidential conversation with a trained counselor 24/7. 

If you are experiencing a mental health crisis, text or call 988.

If this is a medical emergency or if there is immediate danger of harm, call 911 and explain that you need support for a mental health crisis.

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