Mental Health Crisis? Call 988

National lifeline provides 24/7 free, confidential support

Almost everyone knows to call 911 in an emergency, but did you know there’s a special number to call or text if you're experiencing a mental health crisis? 988 is a national suicide and crisis lifeline, providing free, confidential support 24/7. 

In 2020, 988 was designated by the FCC as a nationwide number for mental health crisis. You can call or text 988 or live chat with a counselor at

More than 9,000 people contact the lifeline every day, according to data from 2022. Of those, approximately 98% are helped by the crisis counselor sharing resources or making community connections without involving 911. The remaining 2% involve a serious risk to life, requiring assistance from 911.

“It’s an unknown and underutilized resource,” says Carly Kuntzman, RN, a nurse in the Emergency Department at RUSH Copley Medical Center. Kuntzman heads a small team participating in a nationwide emergency department initiative to stop pediatric suicide. One of their goals is to create awareness of 988 as a resource for all ages and for anyone who may be struggling with mental health issues. 

“If one person calls and it helps them, our goal is achieved,” she says.

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