'911 of mental health': Universal suicide hotline, 988, launches Saturday

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts or is in need of mental health help, you can call the current National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. The 10-digit number will remain active, even after 988 launches on July 16.
Posted at 8:40 AM, Jul 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-18 12:14:44-04

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — A new universal suicide hotline, 988, is launching Saturday, July 16.

The 3-digit hotline is part of a nationwide move away from the 10-digit National Suicide Prevention Hotline, which remains available during the changeover.

The new 988 lifeline is modeled after 911 and designed to be a more memorable, quicker number for people to use.

Trained counselors are available 24/7 to respond to calls or text messages to 9-8-8.

Gov. Beshear said the state has been working diligently to implement the new number, which has been called the “911 of mental health.”

“My administration has always prioritized mental health the same as physical health,” Gov. Beshear said. “And with the launch of 988, we have made it easier for Kentuckians to reach out and get the assistance they need and deserve.”

Gov. Beshear plans to join mental health partners at a news conference Monday at the Capitol to officially launch 988.