The United States recently transitioned the 10-digit National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to a three-digit easy to remember number - 988. The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a free, confidential 24/7 phone line that connects individuals in crisis with trained counselors across the United States.
“The Galesburg Fire Department would like to share this information with citizens to help make sure they are aware of this new, easy to remember number for the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, which could prove to be a lifesaving resource to those in distress,” said Galesburg Fire Chief Randy Hovind.
When people call, text, or chat 988, they will be connected to trained counselors that are part of the existing Lifeline network. These trained counselors will listen, understand how their problems are affecting them, provide support, and connect them to resources. While the service has been updated to add the option to text or call 988, the previous Lifeline phone number (1-800-273-8255) will always remain available to people in emotional distress or suicidal crisis.
The Lifeline’s network of over 200 crisis centers has been in operation since 2005 and has been proven to be effective. It’s the counselors at these local crisis centers who answer the contacts the Lifeline receives every day. Numerous studies have shown that callers feel less suicidal, less depressed, less overwhelmed, and more hopeful after speaking with a lifeline counselor. Understanding the issues concerning suicide and mental health is an important way to take part in suicide prevention, help others in crisis, and change the conversation around suicide.