988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline Launches July 16

New Number a Major Step in Transforming Crisis Care

On July 16, 2022,  the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline will go live nationwide.

In 2020, Congress designated the new 988 dialing code to operate through the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. By calling or texting 988, or by chatting via the Lifeline website (https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/), anyone who is having thoughts of suicide or who is experiencing a mental health, emotional or substance abuse crisis will be connected to compassionate, accessible care. 988 is also available for anyone concerned about a loved one who may need crisis support.

“Each life lost to suicide impacts families, friends and entire communities,” said  Mississippi Department of Mental Health Executive Director Wendy Bailey. “988 will be one way to help us prevent these losses, and we are excited for what the launch of 988 means to our state.”

Since the Lifeline began in 2005, it has served as an invaluable resource, providing free and confidential support to those in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. It’s important to note that 988 won’t replace the existing Lifeline; it’s an easy-to-remember way to access it. Ideally, 988 will become as recognizable a resource for behavioral health and substance abuse crises as 911 is for medical crises.

“With time, we are hopeful 988 will reimagine the way crisis services are provided in the U.S. and in Mississippi, but we know this system transformation will not happen overnight,” said Bailey. “We are grateful for everyone who is working to make the launch of 988 a success and look forward to the continuing work that we know is ahead of us.”

There is a tremendous need for the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline in Mississippi, given that:

  • Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death among young people ages 10-24 in Mississippi.1
  • In fiscal year 2021, 9,223 calls were made to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in Mississippi.2
  • In 2021, there were 491 suspected overdose deaths in Mississippi.3

For more information about mental health services available to Mississippians, visit mentalhealthms.com.

1 https://afsp.org/facts/mississippi

2 https://www.dmh.ms.gov/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/DMH-FY21-Annual-Report.pdf

3 https://pmp.mbp.ms.gov/statistics/#stat-3


DMH is supporting a better tomorrow by making a difference in the lives of Mississippians with mental illness, substance abuse disorders and intellectual or developmental disabilities one person at a time.