988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline Answered Nearly 5 Million Contacts in its First Year– 2 Million More Than the Previous 12 Months
Vibrant Emotional Health Media Contact:
Divendra Jaffar, DJaffar@vibrant.org
The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline Introduces Spanish Text and Chat Service and
LGBTQI+ Subnetwork Ahead of First Anniversary
New York, NY (July 13, 2023) – Vibrant Emotional Health (Vibrant), one of the nation’s leading mental health organizations and the nonprofit administrator of the national 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline (988 Lifeline) and the Veterans Crisis Line (VCL), today shared significant progress since moving to a nationwide, three-digit dialing code one year ago. The 988 Lifeline, a network of more than 200 state and local call centers funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), answered nearly 5 million calls, texts, and chats from people looking for help with suicide, mental health, and substance use-related crises since launching last July.
In the first year of operation, the 988 Lifeline simultaneously increased answer rates and speed of answer. Calls answered increased by 46%, chats answered increased by 141%, and texts answered increased by 1135% compared to the same time period 2021-2022. The average speed to answer for contacts across all modalities decreased from 2 minutes and 39 seconds to 41 seconds.
Today, a year after the rollout of the 988 Lifeline, HHS and its 988 Lifeline partners announced the addition of Spanish text and chat services. Spanish speakers looking for services can press 2 when calling 988, text AYUDA to 988, or chat online at 988lineadevida.org or 988lifeline.org. Callers have been able to reach someone to talk in Spanish since 2006. Almost 70,000 calls were routed to the Spanish calling subnetwork last year. The 988 Lifeline also uses Language Line Solutions to provide translation services in more than 240 additional languages.
In addition, specialized services for LGBTQI+ youth and young adults were expanded this month following a successful pilot test launched in September 2022. LGBTQI+ services can be accessed by calling 988 and pressing 3, or by texting 988 or chatting at 988lifeline.org, and indicating they would like to connect with a trained counselor in the LGBQTI+ subnetwork when asked. Later this year, the 988 Lifeline plans to add a videophone service to serve deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals better. These programs, alongside other efforts to democratize access to U.S. mental health care, have broadened the 988 Lifeline’s reach and enabled crucial support to diverse communities nationwide.
“Today, we celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Biden-Harris Administration’s launch of 988, America’s three-digit Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. 988 is a life-saving program that connects Americans with trained counselors who offer real support in times of crisis,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “Building on our good news, this year we enhance 988’s reach by adding new 24/7 text and chat support in Spanish to the already existing call support. 988 is about delivering life-saving resources to Americans facing mental health challenges, and now we can say that to you in Spanish.”
“The first anniversary is an important milestone as we work together to strengthen our mental health care system and expand services to those in need. Vibrant Emotional Health’s role as the administrator for the 988 Lifeline call, text, and chat services is vital in ensuring that individuals experiencing mental health crises or contemplating suicide have prompt, compassionate, and professional support readily available to them,” said Kimberly Williams, President and CEO at Vibrant Emotional Health. “We want to thank the incredible staff at the call centers and service providers who are committed to helping others and invite more to join and support this vital mission.”
“As the nonprofit administrator of the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, Vibrant is committed to building a lifeline that is accessible, equitable, and responsive to the needs of all individuals,” said Tia Dole, Ph.D., Chief 988 Lifeline Officer at Vibrant Emotional Health. “We are proud of the work that has been done and look forward to working closely with national and local partners to continue to significantly impact mental health support across the nation, saving lives and fostering well-being.”
The shift from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which Vibrant has administered since its inception in 2005, has been part of a dedicated effort to expand and improve U.S. mental health services and offer a transformed crisis care system for all Americans. The National Suicide Hotline Designation Act signed into law after the passage of bipartisan legislation in 2020, authorized 988 as the new three-digit number for suicide and mental health crisis. Through invaluable federal and state funding, including the Biden-Harris Administration’s nearly $1 billion dedicated to this life-saving initiative, the 988 Lifeline has seen a considerable increase in contacts and improved response time over the past year. As the 988 Lifeline sees historically high contact volume, nationwide mental health care support has become increasingly important.
If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 or chat at www.988lifeline.org. To learn more about the 988 Lifeline and Vibrant Emotional Health, visit www.vibrant.org.
About Vibrant Emotional Health
Vibrant Emotional Health is a non-profit organization that helps individuals and families achieve emotional well-being. For over 50 years, our groundbreaking solutions have delivered high-quality services and support, when, where, and how people need it. We offer confidential emotional support through our state-of-the-art contact center and crisis hotline services that use leading-edge telephone, text, and web-based technologies and include the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, Disaster Distress Helpline, NFL Life Line, and NYC Well. Through our community wellness programs, individuals and families obtain the support and skills they need to thrive. Our advocacy and education initiatives promote mental well-being as a social responsibility. Each year we help more than 5 million people live healthier and more vibrant lives. We’re advancing access, dignity, and respect for all and revolutionizing the system for good. Visit vibrant.org. And follow Vibrant on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.