988 New Suicide & Crisis Lifeline Number Launches July 16


New Jerseyans will be able to use the new, three-digit number - 988 - to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline starting July 16; the existing Lifeline number, 1-800-273-8255, will continue to be available.

This new three-digit dialing code, 988, offers immediate connection to the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) 24/7/365.

988 is designed to have 3 components:

  1. Someone to call, online chat, or text
  2. Someone to come (to the caller in need)
  3. Somewhere to go (for mental health or substance abuse treatment in the community)

To support 988, the New Jersey's FY2023 Appropriations Act (the state budget) includes nearly $29 million for "call line infrastructure and services."

“988 is more than just an easy-to-remember number. It will be a direct connection to accessible and compassionate support and resources, available 24/7 to anyone experiencing psychiatric or emotional distress or those worried about a loved one." said Commissioner Adelman.

Crisis Hotlines Work.

Numerous studies have shown that most Lifeline callers are significantly more likely to feel less depressed, less suicidal, less overwhelmed, and more hopeful after speaking to a Lifeline crisis counselor.

A 2017 study funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) found that "the majority of interviewed follow-up clients reported that [connecting to a crisis lifeline] stopped them from killing themselves (79.6%) and kept them safe (90.6%)."

In 2020, suicide was among the top 9 leading causes of death for ages 10-64. In 2020 alone, the U.S. had one death by suicide about every 11 minutes.

In New Jersey, 778 lives were lost to suicide and 239,000 adults had thoughts of suicide in 2020, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

Per NAMI, over a million adults in New Jersey have a mental health condition, while 72,000 New Jerseyans ages 12-17 have depression. Of those New Jerseyeans, 61.4% did not receive any care in the last year.

“These stats represent real people in need of help. Just like 911 is widely known, we hope 988 will become ubiquitous as the number to call when someone is experiencing severe emotional or mental distress,” added Adelman.

988 connects those in need to a national network of over 200 local, independent crisis centers equipped to help people in mental health-related crises.

988 and the existing Lifeline number, 1-800-273-8255, provide services in English and Spanish and use Language Line Solutions, making online interactions available in over 250 additional languages. Currently, the text and chat features are available in English only.

For more information about 988, click here.

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