A new number — 988 — will go directly to suicide prevention help

Submitted by San Juan County and the Washington State Health Care Authority

On July 16, the U.S. transitioned to 988 — the easy-to-remember number to reach the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

This transition is an important step to strengthening and transforming the crisis care continuum in the U.S.

To help our partners communicate about 988, SAMHSA has added downloadable print files for wallet cards, magnets, and posters to its 988 Partner Toolkit. The toolkit already includes logo and brand guidelines, key messages, frequently asked questions, fact sheets (English and Spanish), radio PSA scripts (English and Spanish), and more. 988 print materials are available for ordering from the SAMHSA store and social media shareables will be available by mid-July about the basics of 988.

SAMHSA anticipates 988 will continue to grow and evolve over the years. In 2021, Lifeline received 3.6 million calls, chats, and texts. That number is expected to at least double within the first full year after the 988 transitions.

As of July 16, the (NSPL) Lifeline crisis centers will continue to operate their services in accordance with (NSPL) Lifeline standards and connect with 911 services and regional crisis services as usual. There will be no changes to dispatch for Designated Crisis Responders and mobile crisis response teams or the functions of any other regional crisis service.

Learn more about 988 at https://988lifeline.org/current-events/the-lifeline-and-988

About the Health Care Authority

The Washington State Health Care Authority is committed to whole-person care, integrating physical health and behavioral health services for better results and healthier residents.

HCA purchases health care for more than 2.5 million Washington residents through Apple Health (Medicaid), the Public Employees Benefits Board Program, the School Employees Benefits Board Program, and the COFA Islander Health Care Program. As the largest health care purchaser in the state, we lead the effort to transform health care, helping ensure Washington residents have access to better health and better care at a lower cost.