Call 1-800-273-8255 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline today.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in five US adults experience a mental illness each year, and 431,000 adults in Mississippi have a mental health condition. On average, 1 person in the U.S. dies by suicide every 11 minutes. In Mississippi, 421 lives were lost to suicide and 107,000 adults had thoughts of suicide in the last year.

In August 2019, FCC staff—in consultation with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the Department of Veteran Affairs, and the North American Numbering Council—released a report recommending the use of 988 as the 3-digit code for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. In July 2020, the FCC adopted rules designating this new phone number for Americans in crisis to connect with suicide prevention and mental health crisis counselors. The transition will result in phone service providers directing all 988 calls to the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by July 16, 2022.

Background Information and 988 Implementation in Mississippi

In February 2021, the Mississippi Department of Mental Health (DMH) announced the receipt of $125,000 in funding toward planning for the implementation of the 988 dialing code for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The grant funds have been used to help Mississippi Lifeline call centers prepare for infrastructure needs, volume growth, training and educating staff, data collection, as well as access to the Lifeline’s new 988 number. The funding comes from Vibrant Emotional Health, the nonprofit administrator of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and the 988 State Planning Grant.

The state of Mississippi, through the leadership of the DMH and in collaboration with other state agencies, has been on a multi-year journey to expand crisis services throughout the state and remains committed to continuing to advance the development of an integrated, coordinated crisis system of care that engages with system partners. The ultimate goal is to work tirelessly to find ways to build the crisis system so that all children/youth, adults, and families have access to crisis care when needed – a place to call, someone to respond, and a place to go.

Mississippi has 24/7 primary and backup coverage for every county in the state through its two Lifeline centers, CONTACT The Crisis Line and CONTACT Helpline. Mississippi routed 18,079 Lifeline calls between June 2020 and June 2021.

Mississippi also has mobile teams and crisis centers throughout the state. There are opportunities to continue to expand these services over time and to develop ways to facilitate seamless and efficient connectivity between crisis services and crisis system partners (e.g., 911, law enforcement, emergency departments, etc.).

Planning Coalition

The Planning Coalition for the 988 Implementation has included representatives from DMH, and representatives from the following organizations have been invited to participate as well:

  • CONTACT the Crisis Line
  • Mental Health Association
  • Mississippi College
  • NAMI Mississippi
  • Contact Helpline
  • Mississippi Division of Medicaid
  • Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Department
  • Mississippi Alliance to End Suicide
  • Mississippi Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
  • Education Development Center
  • Oxford Police Department
  • Mississippi Department of Public Safety

Participants have also included representatives from Mississippi’s Community Mental Health Centers in Region 2, Region 4, Region 6, Region 7, Region 8, Region 9, and Region 12, as well as community representatives who have lived experience with suicide. Click here for a full list of Planning Coalition members.

Implementation Plan

The Planning Coalition submitted a draft of the 988 Implementation Plan to Vibrant on September 30, 2021. The goals and action steps outlined in this 988 Implementation Plan will support Mississippi in continuing to develop an integrated coordinated crisis system of care that is available to all children/youth, adults, and families throughout Mississippi. Following are some highlights of action steps outlined in this plan intended to develop crisis services and develop a coordinated crisis system within Mississippi:

  • Explore additional resources to close the service and funding gaps, including the use of federal and state opportunities
  • Add additional staff to the Lifeline centers to meet the anticipated demand, as funding is available
  • Expand technology to utilize the most efficient approaches and enhance the data collection and monitoring approaches
  • Support Lifeline centers in meeting the 988 operational, clinical, and training standards
  • Monitor crisis metrics to determine the responsiveness of the 988 call centers and other crisis services, so that the experience of crisis care is measured and reported on
  • Facilitate the engagement of stakeholders to implement the 988 Implementation Plan and ensures that the voices of those with lived experience are front and center
  • Work with 911 and law enforcement and other first responders to build out the coordinated crisis system
  • Develop a centralized up-to-date referral approach and advance the approach to use technology over time, addressing the unique needs of diverse populations
  • Develop crisis care work processes/flows across and between crisis services that facilitates timely, effective, and efficient services, utilizing technology where applicable
  • Develop and mobilize a marketing and communication plan to inform Mississippians and crisis system partners about the 988 crisis line

Click here to read the draft 988 Implementation Plan.

Planning Coalition Minutes

Click the links below to read minutes from the Planning Coalition meetings.