988 History

Why is 988 important?

America is experiencing a mental health crisis. Luckily that crisis is reversible. 

  • the suicide rate has climbed almost 30% since 1999, and over the last decade it has increased in 49 of 50 states.
  • between 2016-2017 there was a 10% increase in suicides in youth between 15-24 years old in the US
  • 1 in 5 people, above the age of 12, has a mental health condition in the US
  • Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death in the US
  • More Americans dead from a mental health crisis and substance abuse in 2018 alone than have died in combat in every war combined since World War II
  • Suicide is the most preventable cause of death. For every person who dies by suicide annually, there are 316 people who seriously consider suicide but do not kill themselves
  • Over 90% of people who attempt suicide go on to live their lives
For too long, our system for mental health crisis services has been underfunded and undervalued. We will now meet this challenge with evidence-based crisis intervention that the 988 crisis line will provide.


What is 988

988 is a new three-digit for The National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. A crisis line available 24/7 for anyone needing resources, emergency services or just someone to talk to. In 2020, the Lifeline received nearly 2.4 million calls. With an easy to remember and dial number 988, the Lifeline hopes to reach many more people in emotional crisis.


Click on the link to learn more: 

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: A National Safety Net and 9-8-8 by John Draper, Phd 


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