As of July 16, 2022, the nationwide three-digit dialing code 988 officially routes crisis calls and texts to the NSPL network, including Lines for Life.
Lines for Life is the home of 988 in Oregon, fielding most calls and texts from Oregon area codes. We also act as a nationwide backup center for 988, ensuring quick responses when other call centers experience high call volume.
Advantages of 988
- Easy to remember
- Fast access to help
- Focus on safety & de-escalation
- Raises awareness and reduces stigma of calling for help
- Avoids police/ambulance response unless necessary
The Future of Crisis Response
988 brings transformational improvements to crisis response nationwide – and Lines for Life is preparing to be part of these changes in Oregon and beyond. Here are some improvements we, along with our national partners, are hoping to implement in the first years of 988.
- Integrate 911 system information to better localize support for callers.
- Build and grow networks of Mobile Crisis Response teams, who can provide in-person support for callers who need it and ease reliance on law enforcement.
- Connect callers to available respite centers and/or long-term mental healthcare.
Why a 3-digit number?
988 is a three-digit dialing code to reach help fast when you’re in mental health crisis – think 911 for the brain. When you’ve got a police, fire, or rescue emergency, you call 911. When you have a mental health emergency, you call 988. Calling or texting connects you with a highly trained crisis intervention specialist who can help you get through the crisis and connect with additional resources.
How does 988 work?
988 connects people in crisis to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, the nation’s safety net for people in crisis. The Lifeline is a network of over 160 call centers throughout the United States that currently help over 2.2 million people in crisis every year. The Lifeline:
- Sets clinical standards to ensure high quality, effective help for people in crisis.
- Provides constant quality assurance and training to improve call center performance.
- Deploys and sustains the state-of-the-art telecommunications software and hardware to ensure responsiveness.
- Constantly evaluates performance to identify areas of opportunity and risk.
Is the Lifeline available in other languages for non-English speakers?
Yes. The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline has a Spanish Language line at 1-888-628-9454. We also provide the Tele-Interpreters service to our crisis centers, which supports over 150 languages.
Are all Lifeline Chat communications secure and confidential?
The confidentiality and security of chats are ensured through the Lifeline chat software provider, which uses the same encryption and data protection standards required by major financial institutions to transact business with each other. All of your communications are securely encrypted from your computer to ours.
Does the Lifeline have geolocation capabilities or the ability to trace callers, texters or chatters?
The Lifeline does not directly geolocate or trace callers, chat or text users in the same way that 911 providers do. The Lifeline attempts to route callers to the nearest center to them in the network using their area code to determine the most proximal center. This routing is imprecise because most people seek help through mobile devices and may be in a location different than their area code. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is the governing body that determines geolocation capabilities.
What does “confidential” mean when saying contacting the line is free and confidential?
All contacts with the Lifeline from people seeking help are to be treated as confidential by the Lifeline and Lifeline network centers. This means that information about callers/chatters/texters will not be shared outside the Lifeline without documented verbal or written consent from the person seeking help, except in cases where there is imminent risk of harm to self or someone else, or where otherwise required by law.
How many people call the Lifeline?
- Last year, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline answered over 2.2 million calls, texts, and chats from people in crisis.
- With 988, the Lifeline expects to reach millions more.
How does 988 cut health care costs?
First responder / 911 response and emergency room visits are the most expensive ways to treat crisis. A typical 911 call results in thousands of dollars in cost to taxpayers – the dispatcher and system, the first responder personnel, and often resulting hospitalization typically run in the thousands of dollars.
Call centers in the Lifeline already divert hundreds of thousands of calls from 911 every year – many call centers de-escalate as many as 95% of their suicidal callers, meaning that only a few require the costly intervention of emergency services.
And Lifeline calls cost a fraction of a 911 call – in 2018, the average Lifeline call cost just $25, as compared to the thousands of dollars in cost to respond to a crisis with 911 and first responders.
Lifeline call centers will divert millions of calls from 911 – saving hundreds of millions of dollars each year.
Have additional questions? Visit the 988 FAQ.
For press and media inquiries, please contact Donna Harrell, Director of Communications, at [email protected].