There’s a new three-digit lifeline that people in mental health crises can call or text starting Saturday and get immediate help: 988.

Why it matters: The new 988 is the mental health equivalent of 911.

  • It was created through bipartisan federal legislation signed in 2020 to address the growing need for suicide prevention.
  • Suicide has been one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. since 2008, the CDC reports. And in 2020, suicide became the second leading cause of death among people ages 10-14 and 25-34.

How it works: The digits route callers or texters to a local call center where they’ll reach a trained crisis counselor.


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