On Friday, July 15, the Department of Health (DOH) announced the launch of a new three-digit dialing code for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL). Anyone experiencing suicidal or mental health-related distress can now access care by dialing 988 or the former NSPL number, 1-800-273-TALK (8255), which will remain active. Secretary of Health Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH shared, “Providing an easy-to-remember, three-digit number is an important step to accessing potentially life-saving support,” according to a DOH news release.
In another effort to reduce barriers for individuals seeking support, NSPL enabled text access alongside the launch of the new 988 dialing code. People can now receive care via call, text or chat by calling or texting 9-8-8. These 24/7 services are free and confidential and are available to individuals experiencing a suicidal or mental health-related crisis or for those worried about a loved one in crisis.
Though text and chat services are currently only available in English, callers can access a Spanish Language Line by dialing 9-8-8 and pressing 2. Additionally, interpretation services are available in over 250 languages for callers.
Callers can also reach the Veterans Crisis Line by dialing 9-8-8 and pressing 1.
A Native and Strong Lifeline, dedicated to serving Washington’s American Indian and Alaska Native individuals, will also be launching soon.
Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing and TTY can access support by dialing 7-1-1 and then 1-800-273-8255.
If you would like to share information about these resources with your community, consult the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline Partner Toolkit. This toolkit contains messaging and resources related to the new 988 dialing code and can be found on the DOH 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline page.