Oregon is ready for nationwide launch of 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline
Starting July 16, people in Oregon and nationwide will be able to call, text or chat 988, a new three-digit number, available 24/7, that will directly connect anyone experiencing a behavioral health crisis to compassionate care and support from trained crisis counselors. The 988 dialing-code connects callers to the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a network of local crisis call-centers throughout the country. In Oregon, 988 call-centers are operated by Lines for Life statewide, and Northwest Human Services in Marion and Polk counties.
How Does 988 Work?
988 was established in July 2022 to improve access to crisis services in a way that meets our country’s growing suicide and mental health-related crisis care needs. 988 provides easier access to behavioral health crisis services, which are distinct from the public safety purposes of 911 (where the focus is on dispatching Emergency Medical Services, fire and police as needed).
911 continues to operate as it does across the state. For serious and life-threatening situations, 988 call centers work with local mental health providers to support appropriate interventions.
The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and Oregon’s 988 call centers are collaborating with 911 Public Safety Answering Points to develop a roadmap on how 911 and 988 can coordinate with each other in the future.
988 crisis counselors are trained to use the least invasive interventions. Oftentimes, responding to a call, text or chat is all that is needed to help someone in crisis. In fact, more than 95 percent of current calls are resolved over the phone.
If a 988 call cannot be resolved over the phone, a mobile crisis team or first responder may be dispatched.
Other important facts to know:
- 988 is available through every landline, cell phone and voice-over internet device in the United States, as well as text and chat.
- The current technology for 988 routes callers by area code, not geolocation.
- 988 is not currently available when phones are locked or do not have prepaid minutes.
- The transition to 988 does not impact the availability of crisis services for veterans and military service members. They can call 988 and press 1 to connect with the Veterans Crisis Line.
- For support in Spanish, callers can press 2 to connect with the Red Nacional de Prevención del Suicidio.
The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline has an infographic with more information on what happens when people call, text or chat.
Community partners interested in helping promote 988 can use posters, social media shareables and other materials about 988 from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration at samhsa.gov/988. Learn more about 988 in Oregon on OHA’s 988 webpage. Read OHA’s press release about 988.