What Is 988? Why Does It Matter? How Can You Help?

Answering questions about the essential service.
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What is 988? It’s a question many people don’t know the answer to. 988 is the United States’ national helpline for information and referrals. If you need help to find resources in your community, or just want someone to talk to, 988 can help.

This number is available 24/7, and can connect you with everything from mental illness services to food banks. In this story, we’ll discuss what 988 is, why it matters, and how you can help spread the word about this important information and referral service.

The reality of getting help in America

I live in a small town in southeast Tennessee. There are no mental health resources near my home. I’m lucky, as my bipolar disorder has been stable for years, and now my primary care physician can monitor my meds. However, if I was in crisis or just starting out, I would have to drive over 45 miles to get any help. Worse yet, it would mean driving to Chattanooga, where I would have no idea where to start.

Here, 988 can help. With one call, I can get the direction I need. Thanks to the kind people answering the phones at 988, I’ll know where to go.

Start Today!

What’s the 988 number and what does it offer people?

988 is a free and confidential service that can help connect people in need with the resources to help. Whether you’re facing a personal crisis or looking for aid in your community, calling the number can be a lifeline. The staff connects people to government agencies and education programs 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Per their official website: “The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a leader in suicide prevention and mental health crisis care. Since its inception, the Lifeline has engaged in a variety of initiatives to improve crisis services and advance suicide prevention for all, including innovative public messaging, best practices in mental health, and groundbreaking partnerships.”

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Why does it matter?

One thing made painfully obvious by the pandemic was the lack of access to mental health care. Even worse, most people are clueless about where to turn if they help. 988 and their referral services can improve public health by providing essential guidance. Most centers are available seven days a week.

988 is vital because it provides essential family services to those in need. By connecting people with the resource specialists they need, trained counselors can help prevent crises and save lives. Besides providing information and referrals, 988 also offers emotional support to those who are struggling. This helpline is a lifeline for many, leading to suicide prevention.

As of this writing, 988 has responded to over 23-million callers. Raising awareness is vital because, “for every one person who dies by suicide annually, 316 people seriously consider suicide, but do not kill themselves.” – Source

How do you contact your local 988 center?

The quickest way to reach one of the centers is to dial 988 from your phone. You can also visit their website: 988lifeline.org. Here you will find the contact information for your local agency.

Your local center may have additional contact numbers and email addresses to help you access their referral service. Each one provides information about health and human services and transportation assistance accessible near you.


Also Read: The Simple Document That Kept Me Alive


How can you help spread the word 988?

There are many ways you can help spread the word. You can share this blog post with your friends and family, or you can volunteer with a local 988 organization. You can also help spread the word by including the number in your social media posts.

If you have the ability, you can also volunteer with a local 988 organization. By spreading the word about this important service, we can ensure that more people are aware of what it is and how it can help them.

Start Today!

What are some services referred to by 988?

From crisis support to food banks or child care to summer camps, this helpline is available 24/ seven and can connect you with the resources you need. 988 is an essential resource for many people, and by spreading the word about it, we can help more people in need of help.

Some services referred to by 988 include:

  • Mental health services
  • Crisis counseling support
  • Food assistance
  • Information about government benefits
  • Disaster relief services
  • Substance abuse groups
  • Utility assistance
  • Job training
  • And more!

If you need help, or know someone who does, please call 988. This helpline is available all day, every day, and can connect you with the resources you need.

By spreading the word about what 988 is and what it does, we can help more people in need of support. So please, share this story with your friends and family, and include the number in your social media posts. Together, we can help more people in north America find the help they need.

Until next time, keep fighting.

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