MEDIA ADVISORY/PRESS CONFERENCE: Press Briefing at Peace Park to Announce 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline Adding American Sign Language Services for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Callers

Jefferson City, MO


Notes to editors/reporters:

  • Cameras will be allowed to film starting at 11:00 a.m. CT prior to the start of the press conference
  • B-roll of the 988 Lifeline ASL service and soundbites from DeafLEAD staff, along with a press release announcing the new service, will be available for download on Friday morning
  • Representatives will be available for media pull-asides prior to and after the event

Columbia, MO—On Friday at the University of Missouri’s Peace Park, subject matter experts from the federal, state, and local levels will hold a press briefing to announce the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline adding nationwide American Sign Language (ASL) services for Deaf and Hard of Hearing callers.

Missouri-based DeafLEAD is one of the two providers of this new nationwide service. Following the press briefing, the Missouri Department of Mental Health will host a celebration of the one-year anniversary of the 988 Lifeline, with exhibits, speakers, performances and food, at the same location.


  • Monica Johnson, Director of the 988 and Behavioral Health Crisis Coordinating Office at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the federal agency that oversees the 988 Lifeline
  • Tia Dole, Chief 988 Lifeline Officer at Vibrant Emotional Health, the 988 Lifeline national network administrator
  • Nora Bock, Director of Behavioral Health, Missouri Department of Mental Health
  • Sol Romero, Videophone Crisis Lines Operations Manager for DeafLEAD
  •  Michele Williams, Chief Operating Officer, Community Crisis Services, Inc.

WHEN: Friday, Sept. 8, 2023, at 11:30 a.m. CT (12:30 p.m. ET)

WHERE: University of Missouri’s Peace Park, 401 S. 9th St., Columbia, MO 65201 (signage will be posted to guide members of the media to the press conference).

Please RSVP and send any questions to Dani Bennett via email at

If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 or chat