988 is the new three-digit number for the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, formerly the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. 988 is more than just an easy-to-remember number — it is a direct connection to compassionate, accessible care and support for anyone experiencing mental health related distress — whether that is thoughts of suicide, mental health or substance use crisis, or any other kind of emotional distress.
988 offers 24/7 access to trained crisis counselors to help people experiencing:
● Thoughts of suicide
● Mental health or substance use crisis, or
● Any other kind of emotional distress
People can call or text 988 or chat 988lifeline.org for themselves or if they are worried about a loved one who may need crisis support.
More about 988
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%. 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. For more information, visit 988lifeline.org.
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.