On 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. The Lifeline is available 24/7, free, and confidential.
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.
To learn more about 988 click here.
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.
Click here to learn more about Suicide Prevention in Louisiana.
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Chats and Texts (English and Spanish)
Currently, texts and chats are routed to VIA LINK, LACG and to specified call centers outside of Louisiana. Individuals will be connected to a trained crisis counselor.
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, Spanish Speakers, LGBTQ+ Youth, and Deaf and Hard of Hearing
For 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.
For Spanish press option 2 to speak to a trained crisis counselor (Línea de Prevención del Suicidio y Crisis) or dial 1-888-628-9454.
For LGBTQ+ youth 25 and younger, press 3 to speak to a trained crisis counselor.
For deaf and hard of hearing, TTY users may use their preferred relay service or dial 711 then 988.
What is 988?
The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline (formerly known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline) offers 24/7 call, text and chat access to trained crisis counselors who can help people experiencing suicidal, substance use, and/or mental health 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 answers the phone, listens to the caller, understands how their problem is affecting them, provides support, and shares resources if needed. If the local crisis center is unable to take the call, the caller is 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 and Spanish) is available through the Lifeline’s website at 988lifeline.org/chat. People seeking chat services are provided a pre-chat survey before connecting with a counselor, who 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, people can access the Lifeline’s “helpful resources” while waiting. Once you are connected, a crisis counselor listens to you, works to understand how your problem is affecting you, provides support, and shares resources that may be helpful.
What happens when I text 988?
When someone texts to 988, they are responded to by a group of Lifeline crisis centers that answer both chats and texts. This service will expand over the next few years to increase local and state level response. Once you are connected, a crisis counselor listens to you, works to understand how your problem is affecting you, provides support, and shares resources that may be helpful. Currently, texting is available in English and Spanish.
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.
How is 988 different than 911?
988 was established to improve access to crisis services in a way that meets our country’s growing suicide and mental health-related crisis care needs. 988 provides easier access to the Lifeline network and related crisis resources, which are distinct from the public safety purposes of 911 (where the focus is on dispatching Emergency Medical Services, fire and police as needed).
For a complete list of 988 Frequently Asked Questions, visit, https://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.
Louisiana Lifeline call center:
Questions Regarding 988
If you have questions regarding 988, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.