New ‘988’ mental health crisis hotline launches Saturday

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Starting Saturday, people in a mental health crisis will be able to call or text 988 to reach the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline (formerly known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline). It’ll connect people with mental health counselors 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The Lifeline is a network of over 200 local call centers. If local centers are busy, callers are redirected to a national backup center.

Officials have billed the new number as the “911” for suicide prevention and mental healthcare. It replaces the old National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number — 1-800-273-8255 (TALK). One goal is to reduce the number of mental health crisis calls that go to 911, which often sends people to busy emergency rooms or puts them in…

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