On July 16, 2022, 988 became the national three-digit phone number for all mental health, substance use, and suicide crises across the United States.

SAMHSA, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration responsible for the implementation of 988, recognizes the need for the quick dial number. In 2020 alone, the U.S. had one death by suicide about every 11 minutes, and from April 2020 to 2021, over 100,000 individuals died from drug overdoses according to SAMHSA. Mental Health resources have been scarce, and this initiative provides consumers and healthcare providers with centralized resources.

Too many people are experiencing suicidal crisis or mental health-related stress without the support and care they need, and sadly, the pandemic only made a bad situation worse when it comes to mental health and wellness in America. 

Additionally, the Alabama Department of Mental Health (ADMH) shares, 988 is more than just an easy-to-remember number – it’s a direct connection to compassionate, accessible care for anyone experiencing mental health-related distress. 988 calls are routed to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline centers in each state, transitioning from the current Lifeline number, 1-800-273-8255 and will provide rapid access to behavioral health support through connection with trained crisis specialists.

The ADMH further shares – 988 is a robust crisis system that can de-escalate mental health crises and connect individuals to the most appropriate care. This tool is a great resource for individuals and healthcare facilities alike, providing needed resources for all.

For more information about services related to 988 and other related resources in Alabama such as the Alabama Crisis System of Care, Crisis Centers and Stepping Up Alabama, visit the ADMH website at  988 – Alabama Department of Mental Health.

To view the national 988 implementation toolkit, visit the SAMHSA website at 988 Partner Toolkit | SAMHSA. This toolkit has many resources for hospitals and other healthcare providers to use including printable wallet cards and posters for patient education, as well as sample Safety Plans.  There are also shareable social media resources for your website and social media pages that will help healthcare providers get the message out about this new mental health service.

Hopefully, 988 and the related resources will give healthcare providers better tools to turn the mental health crises around. For questions or to discuss these resources, please contact a member of our Inspirien Risk Team at 1-800-821-9605 or www.riskmanagement@inspirien.net.