Everything you need to know about the new 988 suicide-prevention hotline

'It is like 911, for the brain'
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988 is officially the new number to call, text or chat for anyone needing mental health crisis support for themselves or a loved one. The new, easy to remember number took effect Saturday and now available nationwide.

LISTEN NOW: Chief Medical Officer for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Dr. Christine Yu Moutier discusses the new number, what to expect when you call and other mental health initiatives

The hotline is a national network of local crisis centers that provide free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.

Dr. Christine Yu Moutier, Chief Medical Officer for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention joined Audacy’s Andy Riggs to discuss the importance of the new number, when to use it and more surrounding mental health initiatives in the US.

“988 is the new, three-digit number for any type of mental health or suicide-related crisis and that includes substance abuse crisis as well,” Moutier shared. “Anything that is impacting the way that you are thinking, feeling, functioning — that may be related to stress, depression, anxiety, trauma — it’s a wide-open field.”

She continued, “It’s not just the person struggling who can use this 988, number. It is the people in their lives, the people trying to help someone they’re worried about. [They] can get a lot of guidance from calling 988.”

So what can people expect when they call the new hotline?

“It is like 911, for the brain, for mental health, whereas 911 is being used for medical emergencies,” she clarified. “The call itself is with a trained professional, so there is an intervention and a therapeutic experience that that happens just by calling 988.”

Find out more about the hotline and other mental health initiatives taking place in the U.S. by listening to Moutier’s conversation with Andy Riggs above.

Audacy's I’m Listening initiative aims to encourage those who are dealing with mental health issues to understand they are not alone. If you or anyone you know is struggling with depression or anxiety, know that someone is always there. Additionally, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-273-8255.

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