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988

Vermont has been preparing for the implementation of 9-8-8 since 2019.  The Department of Mental Health secured funding to support the certification of two Lifeline centers to increase the in-state answer rate from 0% to >85%.  On July 16, 2022, Vermont, along with the rest of the nation, transitioned from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to the 9-8-8 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. Currently, Vermont is responding to calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and is working to build capacity to respond to chats and texts. While the ten-digit Lifeline number, 1-800-273-TALK (8255), remains active, the transition to an easier to remember three-digit dialing code comes with additional, enhanced services. 9-8-8 is a free, confidential service, available to all. For more information on the national rollout, visit 988lifeline.org.  

The Vermont Department of Mental Health is working to create a 9-8-8 system that serves the unique needs of our residents, with the goal of providing equitable services to all Vermonters, including people of color, Native Americans, new Americans, and the LGBTQ+ community.  

There are currently two Lifeline call centers located in Vermont. If a local counselor is engaged with another individual, the caller may be routed to a backup center in New Hampshire. All calls are confidential and free. All counselors are trained to provide support for everything from distress to crisis. While counselors are not required to be licensed clinicians, extensive training is required for all Lifeline Call Centers. Counselors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The system is designed to provide resources for individuals experiencing mental health challenges.