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New Help Number for Suicide Prevention

07/18/2022

Two days ago on July 16, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline (formerly known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline) will transition from its previous ten-digit phone number to the 988-dialing code. 

What is 988?

988 is a 3-digit dialing code for the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline (Lifeline), where compassionate, accessible care and support is available for anyone experiencing mental health-related distress - whether that is thoughts of suicide, mental health or substance use crisis, or any other kind of emotional distress. People in crisis can call or text 988 or use the webchat available at 988lifeline.org. 

The goals for the Lifeline are to: 

  • Provide immediate, confidential counseling to someone in distress.
  • De-escalate suicidal or distressed thoughts; and
  • Connect people with local resources, when appropriate.

Who answers 988 calls?

The Lifeline is a network of 200+ independent crisis centers across the US and territories. These centers are staffed by trained crisis counselors who are supervised during every shift by a licensed mental-health professional. They adhere to evidence-based protocols to de-escalate feelings of crisis.

There are also national back-up centers, Spanish language centers, and centers answering chats and texts. 

How will 988 and 9-1-1 work together?

In rare but critical circumstances - less than 2% of the time - counselors will determine via their protocols that someone is at imminent risk of harming themselves or someone else. In these situations, the Lifeline will contact 9-1-1 to dispatch emergency services. 

988 is not able to directly transfer a call to 9-1-1. Because of that, the Lifeline counselor must relay the information to the 9-1-1 dispatcher. 

The Parsons Police Department does not get this call unless it is determined by a professional that immediate intervention is needed. Then a local officer will be dispatched as a normal 911 call. This is helpful for all of our citizens who may need help but does not want to talk to someone they may know in a smaller community.

Parsons Police Deputy Chief Dennis Dodd said "It never hurts to talk. If you are feeling like hurting yourself or even feeling like your life doesn't matter call 988 and talk to someone. A little care and compassion can go along way"

The Parsons Police Department worked 2 Suicides in 2021 and have already had 1 in 2022. We hope that this number gets to 0 in the future. If you need help, please use any available resource out there. Call 988 or used their website https://988lifeline.org/talk-to-someone-now/ to find more options.

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