988 Lifeline

988 Suicide & Crisis LifelineOn July 16, 2022, the U.S. transitioned to using the 988-dialing code, and it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to strengthen and expand the existing Lifeline.

988 is more than just an easy-to-remember number—it’s a direct connection to compassionate, accessible care and support for anyone experiencing mental health-related distress – whether that is thoughts of suicide, mental health or substance use crisis, or any other kind of emotional distress. People can also dial 988 if they are worried about a loved one who may need crisis support.

Certified Lifeline Centers in Louisiana

Louisiana has two certified Lifeline centers, VIA LINK and the Louisiana Association on Compulsive Gambling (LACG) who are ready to respond to 988 calls.  VIA LINK provides primary coverage for area codes 504, 225, and 985.  LACG provides primary coverage for area codes 318 and 337.  Both centers provide backup to each other to help ensure calls, chats, and texts are answered by an in-state Lifeline center with access to local resources.   

Click here to learn more about The Louisiana Crisis Response System.

 Chats and Texts

Currently, texts and chats are routed to specified call centers outside of Louisiana.  Individuals will be connected to a trained crisis counselor.  Beginning in the fall of 2022, texts and chats will be routed to VIA LINK and LACG after protocols are updated to allow systems to route to local call centers.   

About the Lifeline

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, now known as the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, is funded by SAMHSA and has been administered by Vibrant Emotional Health since it began in 2005.

The Lifeline is a national network of over 200 local, independent crisis centers equipped to help people in mental health related distress or experiencing a suicidal crisis via call, chat, or text. The Lifeline provides free and confidential support to people in suicidal crisis or mental health-related distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, across the U.S.

Numerous studies have shown that the Lifeline works—most callers are significantly more likely to feel less depressed, less suicidal, less overwhelmed, and more hopeful after speaking to a Lifeline crisis counselor.  Lifeline crisis counselors are an essential element of our crisis care system to save lives.

Veterans Crisis Line

Veterans, Service Members, and their families call 988 and press option 1 to speak to a trained crisis counselor.

Chat (VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat) and text (838255) are also available.

To learn more, please visit https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/about/what-is-988 . This process is the same as it has been in the past for Veterans; however it’s now simpler with the shortened 988 number. 

Common FAQ’s

What is 988?

988 is the new three-digit dialing code connecting people to the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, where compassionate, accessible care and support is available for anyone experiencing mental health-related distress—whether that is thoughts of suicide, mental health or substance use crisis, or any other kind of emotional distress. People can also dial 988 if they are worried about a loved one who may need crisis support.

What Happens when I call 988?

When calling 988, callers first hear a greeting message while their call is routed to the local Lifeline network crisis center (based on the caller’s area code). A trained crisis counselor will answer the phone, listen to the caller, understand how their problem is affecting them, provide support, and share resources if needed. If the local crisis center is unable to take the call, the caller will be automatically routed to a national backup crisis center. The Lifeline provides live crisis center phone services in English and Spanish and uses Language Line Solutions to provide translation services in over 250 additional languages for people who call 988.

What happens when I chat via 988?

Chat (English only) is available through the Lifeline’s  website www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat.  People seeking chat services will be provided a pre-chat survey before connecting with a counselor that identifies the main area of concern. If there is a wait to chat with a crisis counselor, a wait-time message will appear. If demand is high, individuals can access the Lifeline’s “helpful resources” while waiting or call 988. Once connected, a crisis counselor will listen to you, work to understand how your problem is affecting you, provide support, and share resources that may be helpful.

What happens when I text 988?

Text (English only) is available through 988.  When someone texts to 988, they will be responded to by a group of Lifeline crisis centers that respond to chat and text. This service will expand over the next few years to increase local and state level response. Once connected, a crisis counselor will listen to you, work to understand how your problem is affecting you, provide support, and share resources that may be helpful.

How do 988 and 911 complement one another?

The 988 and 911 systems will need to be closely coordinated to seamlessly allow referral of callers for appropriate care or response that addresses the unique circumstances present with each crisis encounter. SAMHSA is actively engaged with 911 counterparts at the federal, state, and local levels to plan for smooth coordination between the two services.

For a full list of FAQ’s, visit www.samhsa.gov/find-help/988/faqs

Need for 988

Too many people are experiencing suicidal crisis or mental health-related distress without the support and care they need, and sadly, the pandemic has only made a bad situation worse when it comes to mental health and wellness in America.

There is hope. The Lifeline works -- providing 24/7, free and confidential support to people in suicidal crisis or mental health-related distress helps thousands of people overcome crisis situations every day.

988 Resources

 Louisiana Lifeline call center:

Questions Regarding 988

If you have questions regarding 988, send them to 988@la.gov.