Updated: Aug 16, 2022
A new, easy to remember, national suicide prevention hotline number is launching! Starting July 16, individuals experiencing a mental health crisis can call or text “988” to connect with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and speak with mental health professionals trained to respond to suicide and mental health emergencies. See Lifeline (988lifeline.org).
Federal data shows that “since 2008, suicide has ranked as the tenth leading cause of death in the United States. Suicide claimed the lives of more than 44,000 Americans in 2020, and evidence suggests that the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated suicidal thoughts and actions.” See 988-fact-sheet.pdf (fcc.gov). Suicide has adversely impacted black children. Joshua Gordon, Director of the National Institute of Mental Health, reports that "as of 2018, suicide became the second leading cause of death in Black children aged 10-14, and the third leading cause of death in Black adolescents aged 15-19. By combining data from 2001 to 2015, researchers were able to examine suicides among children ages 12 and younger and found that Black children were more likely to die by suicide than their white peers." See NIMH » Addressing the Crisis of Black Youth Suicide (nih.gov) and NIMH » Age-Related Racial Disparity in Suicide Rates Among U.S. Youth (nih.gov). The website for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline addresses mental health issues pertaining to black individuals and provides resources here: Black Mental Health: Lifeline (988lifeline.org).
The new hotline number will provide free confidential emotional support services to callers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Callers to the hotline will be connected to a certified crisis center in the area where the call is placed. The hotline is comprised of a network of 200 local crisis centers around the country. “When people call, text, or chat 988, they will be connected to trained counselors that are part of the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline network,” the website says. “These trained counselors will listen, understand how their problems are affecting them, provide support, and connect them to resources if necessary.” The National Suicide Prevention number, 1-800-273-8255, will remain available to individuals in emotional distress or suicidal crisis after the launch of the 988 number. See The Lifeline and 988: Lifeline (988lifeline.org).
Editor’s Note: If you or someone you know may be considering suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at "988" or 1-800-273-8255 (En Espanol: 1-888-628-9454; Deaf and Hard of Hearing: 1-800-799-4889) or the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.