Federal 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline Launches July 16
June 23, 2022

From college campuses to Main Street, millions of American struggle with mental health and wellness challenges that can lead to crises and even suicide. To help people connect with life-saving support, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) will launch the 988 dialing code on July 16.

The new number—akin to 911—will be operated through the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline network of over 200 locally run and funded crisis centers across the country.

988 is an easy-to-remember way to connect to care for anyone who is experiencing mental health-related distress, such as thoughts of suicide or substance use crisis. Individuals who are concerned about a friend or loved one can also use 988 to seek support and resources.

In addition, there is an urgent need for college students and recent graduates to volunteer or work as paid employees at 988 centers, either as the crisis counselors who answer phone calls, chats and texts, as well as for managers with advanced degrees. Click here for more information on potential 988 employment opportunities.

The mental health of students has been a serious concern for college leaders for many years, and the pandemic has only exacerbated mental health challenges for students.

In a series of Pulse Point surveys conducted since the start of the pandemic, “mental health of students” was the issue cited most frequently by presidents through the fall 2021 term. ACE hosted a webinar on May 25 in collaboration with the Department of Education to share how federal relief dollars can help colleges and universities expand mental health resources for their students.