Starting July 16, you can dial 988 for the nation’s mental health crisis lifeline
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Starting next week, dialing or texting 988 can immediately connect you with suicide or mental health-related assistance.
The National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Lifeline’s new 988 number will be available nationally on July 16 ― and will act similarly to how 911 is used for emergencies.
How to use 988:
If you’re dialing 988 from a phone with an 808 area code, you’ll be routed to the Hawaii CARES crisis line.
Callers with an out-of-state area code will be connected to the crisis center of that state, but anyone can reach the Hawaii CARES line by calling 808-832-3100.
To use the Hawaii CARES chat function, click here.
If someone is not available to pick up your call, it will be directed to the national call center. The lifeline has over 200 crisis centers with trained counselors who can assist callers in finding healthy solutions.
The original number, 1-800-273-8255, will also remain available to callers.
Why 988 means you have to dial 808:
The rollout of 988 required states that used the numbers as a prefix to transition to 10-digit phone numbers.
Hawaii was among those states ― 40 in all ― and moved to 10-digit dialing earlier this year.
Who 988 will help:
While Hawaii reported having decreased suicide rates during the COVID-19 pandemic, the state saw it’s highest total to date in 2019 with 219 reported suicide-related deaths.
The Hawaii CARES crisis line received 101,151 calls last year.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline hopes that by implementing the easy to remember code 988, it will help disperse some of the calls that go to 911 and provide specific care for mental health related situations.
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