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What is 988?

988 launching as the new National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number for suicide prevention and mental health crisis in partnership with 211 Big Bend

Tallahassee, FL – In July 2020, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) designated 988 as the new three-digit number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK). By July 16, 2022, all telecommunications companies will make needed changes so individuals can access the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline using the 988-dialing code. 988 is an easy to remember number that will not replace any of the functions of 911 or 211 but will focus on providing immediate support for those in emotional distress or suicide crisis. The volume of mental health and suicide crisis calls to 988 is expected to significantly increase with the implementation of this easy to remember number.

211 Big Bend has been a National Suicide Prevention Lifeline partner for many years by responding to these calls for 14 counties in Northwest Florida. 211 Big Bend will continue to answer Lifeline (988) suicide and mental health crisis calls as 988 expands.  211 crisis counselors are trained to assist people in emotional distress or suicide crisis regardless of whether they call 988 or 211. In addition to mental health crisis, 211 provides support for finding community resources, such as food pantries and basic needs assistance, as well as care coordination services.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of approximately 180 local- and state-funded crisis centers including many 211 centers.  Suicide prevention is a critical need. Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among young people and was responsible for more than 48,000 deaths in 2019, resulting in about one death every 11 minutes. According to data provided by Lifeline call centers, approximately 98% of answered Lifeline calls do not require an emergency response which can often be much more costly.

“A call to 211 or 988 provides immediate access to someone trained in crisis response, who can provide immediate support, and connection to resources. 211 Big Bend is pleased to be a Lifeline network crisis center and to work with key mental health partners in the local community including mobile response team units.” Tori Greer, 211 Big Bend.

To learn more about 211 Big Bend, please visit www.211bigbend.org. Call 2-1-1 or 850-617-6333 to be connected to 24/7 free confidential and local support, crisis and suicide prevention, and community resources.

If you are thinking about suicide or are worried about a friend or loved one, please reach out.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255).

Hours of Operation

Available: 24/7

We can all help prevent suicide. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals in the United States. Learn more at https://988lifeline.org/

Suicide Prevention

According to the CDC, one person completes suicide every 11 minutes. Suicide is the 10 th leading causeof death across all ages in the United States.

It is believed that most individuals that have thoughts of suicide do want to live. They feel trapped in their current situation and want to end the pain they are experiencing. Contemplating suicide is not necessarily an indicator of mental illness, nearly everyone at some time in their life thinks about suicide. Most people decide to live because they come to realize that the crisis is temporary, but death is not. On the other hand, people in the midst of a crisis often perceive their dilemma as inescapable and feel an utter loss of control.

When suicidal behaviors are detected early, lives can be saved. There are services available in our community for individuals experiencing thoughts of suicide. Join us in supporting suicide prevention. Learn about the issues or help a suicidal person seek help.

Together, we can reduce the number of suicides in our community.