What is 988?
In July of 2022, 988 became the national three-digit phone number for all mental health, substance use, and suicide crises. 988 calls will be routed to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline centers in each state, transitioning from the current Lifeline number, 1-800-273-8255. 988 offers rapid access to behavioral health support through connection with trained crisis specialists. While 988 will be available nationally, it is up to each state to ensure crisis services are adequately funded and available to anyone, anywhere, anytime. Missouri's 988 Task Force is developing a 988 plan and exploring long-term funding options.
988 is opening the door to a robust crisis system that can de-escalate mental health crises and connect individuals to the most appropriate care. With 988 as the first component of our system, we hope to see:
- A change in the community response to behavioral health crises
- A decrease in suicides and other poor mental health outcomes
- A reduction in health care spending and use of law enforcement with more cost-effective early intervention
How will it work?
When someone calls, chats, or texts 988, they can expect to be connected to a crisis specialist who is trained and prepared to deliver support to anyone experiencing a crisis. Because a crisis is defined by the person or family experiencing it, the crisis specialist will engage with the person to understand and address the person’s unique concerns and needs. The intervention may include assessment, stabilization, referral, and follow-up for individuals at high risk for suicide and/or poor mental health outcomes. If a higher level of care is needed, the crisis specialist will work with the caller and other supports to connect them to a mobile crisis response team to respond to the person in the community.
When should you call 988?
Anyone in need of crisis support for themselves or someone else should call 988 starting on July 16, 2022. Until that time, help can be found at 1-800-273-8255.
- Missouri's 988 Task Force
The Missouri 988 Task Force is guiding the development of Missouri’s 988 plan for how to address coordination, capacity, funding, and communication strategies that are foundational to a comprehensive crisis system. The implementation of 988 will improve access to life-saving services, enhance current suicide prevention efforts, and reduce the stigma surrounding suicide and mental health conditions. The 988 Task Force meets monthly to address key planning considerations, including but not limited to the following:
- Ensure statewide 24/7 coverage for 988 calls, chats, and texts;
- Secure adequate and sustained funding streams for 988 centers;
- Expand 988 center capacity to maintain target in-state answer rates for current and projected call, chat, and text volume;
- Support 988 centers in meeting operational expectations;
- Convene a coalition of stakeholders to advise on 988 planning;
- Maintain a comprehensive listing of resources and referrals to additional services;
- Ensure 988 centers can provide best practice follow-up to callers, chatters, and texters; and
- Plan and implement marketing for 988.
- Missouri 988 Resources
- National Resources
- 988 FAQ Document
- 988 – Crisis Centers and Suicide Prevention
- AFSP – 988 & Crisis Response Services
- 988 & SAMHSA
- 988 & Vibrant
- 988 & NAMI
- 988 & the Answering the Call Collaborative
- SAMHSA’s National Guidelines for Behavioral Health Crisis Care Summary
- NAMI 988 State Bill Tracking
- Tradeoffs Podcast Episode: Answering the Call, Part 1
- Tradeoffs Podcast Episode: Answering the Call, Part 2