The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline: Partner Toolkit (PDF) is now available. This toolkit contains resources, messaging, and social media creatives that you can use to share 988 Lifeline information with your audiences. This toolkit has social media post and images in English and Spanish.
For questions about the 988 program at the Washington State Department of Health, please email 988ProgramInfo@doh.wa.gov. Do not use this inbox if you or someone you know needs crisis support. Instead, call, text, or chat the 988 Lifeline.
Call, text, or chat 988 to reach the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. The 988 Lifeline is confidential, free, and available 24/7/365.
You can contact the 988 Lifeline to get support for:
- Thoughts of suicide
- Mental health crises
- Substance use concerns
- Any other kind of emotional distress
You can also contact the 988 Lifeline if you’re worried about a loved one who may need crisis support.
988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline License Plate Emblem
The general public may purchase a suicide prevention license plate emblem that supports the Veteran and Military Member Suicide Prevention Account at the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA). Visit the Department of Licensing website to order an emblem. Learn more on the DVA Suicide Prevention Emblem webpage.
988 Lifeline services are available in Spanish, along with interpretation services in over 240 languages and dialects. If you’re deaf, hard of hearing, or use TTY, you can use your preferred relay service. You can also dial 711 and then 988.
If you use American Sign Language, you can get crisis support in ASL by visiting 988lifeline.org, selecting the “For Deaf & Hard of Hearing” link and selecting “ASL Now” on the next page.
988 does not replace any crisis call centers in Washington state. It's an addition to the state’s network of crisis center providers. There are no changes to dispatch for Designated Crisis Responders and mobile crisis response teams or the functions of any other regional crisis service. The 988 Lifeline crisis centers continue to operate according to national standards and will connect with 911 services and regional crisis services as they have always done.
About the 988 Lifeline
- You can call, text, or chat the 988 Lifeline from a cell phone, land line, or voice-over internet device.
- When you contact the 988 Lifeline, you’ll be connected to a trained counselor at a 988 Lifeline crisis center.
- The Lifeline is confidential, free, and available 24/7/365. It connects anyone experiencing thoughts of suicide or a mental health crisis with a trained crisis counselor. If you’re worried about a loved one who may need crisis support, you can also contact the 988 Lifeline.
- You don’t need to provide any personal data to receive services when you contact 988. Calls, texts, and chats may be monitored or recorded for quality assurance or training purposes. The network system has several safeguards to address concerns about privacy.
988 Lifeline Services for Certain Groups
Veterans Crisis Line
If you are a Veteran in crisis or concerned about one, dial 988 and press 1 to be connected to the Veterans Crisis Line. You can also chat online or text 838255. The Veterans Crisis Line serves Veterans, service members, National Guard and Reserve members, and those who support them. You don’t have to be enrolled in VA benefits or health care to call.
Spanish Language Line
To get crisis support in Spanish, you can call, text, or chat the 988 Lifeline and choose option 2.
You can get support in languages other than English or Spanish by calling the 988 Lifeline and saying the name of the language you need. The Lifeline offers interpretation services in more than 240 languages and dialects. These services are available 24/7/365.
LGBTQI+ Youth Subnetwork Line
The 988 Lifeline has a specialized line for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex, asexual, and two-spirit (LGBTQIA2S+) teens and young adults between the ages of 13 and 24.
To connect with a crisis counselor who can provide LGBTQIA2s+ affirming support, you can call, text, or chat 988 and choose option 3.
American Indian and Alaska Native people
The Native and Strong Lifeline is the first program of its kind in the nation dedicated to serving American Indian and Alaska Native people. Operated by Volunteers of America Western Washington, this line is available for people who call the 988 Lifeline and choose option 4. It is specifically for Washington’s American Indian and Alaska Native communities.
Calls are answered by Native crisis counselors who are tribal members and descendants closely tied to their communities. Native and Strong Lifeline counselors are fully trained in crisis intervention and support, with special emphasis on cultural and traditional practices related to healing.
People who use American Sign Language (ASL)
The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline offers ASL services for people in crisis. To get help now in ASL, you can follow these steps:
- Visit 988lifeline.org
- Select the “For Deaf & Hard of Hearing” link
- Select “ASL Now” on the next page
You can also call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) from your videophone to get crisis support for yourself or a loved one.
House Bill 1477 and the Creation of 988
In 2020, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act. This act made 988 the new, nationwide number for anyone experiencing a mental health crisis, including thoughts of suicide. You can use this easy-to-remember 3-digit dialing code to call or text the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. You can also chat online.
The Washington Legislature passed House Bill 1477 (E2SHB 1477) (PDF) to support the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline plus enhance and expand behavioral health crisis response and suicide prevention services for everyone in Washington state. E2SHB 1477 is also known as the Crisis Call Center Hubs and Crisis Services Act. E2SHB 1477 was signed into law by Governor Jay Inslee on May 13, 2021.
E2SHB 1477 also established the Crisis Response Improvement Strategy (CRIS) Committee and Steering Committee. These committees will develop recommendations to the Governor and Legislature to help implement the national 988 number and parts of E2SHB 1477. If you would like to participate as a member of the public, you can register to attend a meeting and submit public comments.
For full details, please see the Crisis Response Improvement Strategy (CRIS) Committees webpage.
Read the 2023 988 Legislative Report.
In 2023, the Washington Legislature passed House Bill (HB) 1134 to help implement the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.
This bill expands crisis services in Washington by creating an endorsement for rapid response crisis teams and funding these mobile units and training for responders.
According to the bill, the University of Washington will also make recommendations for crisis workforce and resilience training for behavioral health care workers in Washington. The Department of Health will create a social media campaign promoting the 988 Lifeline in addition to informational materials explaining 988, how it works, and how to use it. The aim is to help increase awareness and exposure of the 988 Lifeline.
Other key parts of the bill include working toward co-location to improve the transfer of mental health crisis calls made to 911. This means that 988 crisis counselors located at the same site as 911 dispatchers can answer these calls and provide support.
Mental Health Crisis Call Diversion Initiative
The 988 Lifeline is still new. Many people in Washington continue to reach out to 911 for mental health and substance use concerns, though trained 988 crisis counselors may better provide support in these cases.
The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) is collaborating with Washington’s 988 Lifeline crisis centers and 3 Public Safety Answering Points, or PSAPs (911 centers), on a small-scale pilot called the Mental Health Crisis Call Diversion Initiative. The initiative has two main purposes:
- To help people in crisis connect quickly and easily to trained crisis counselors
- To divert crisis calls made to 911 to help improve the caller’s experience and reduce the strain on emergency services
The pilot program began in September 2023. The goal is to have crisis counselors begin working with 3 of the state’s 65 PSAPs in January 2024. In some cases, crisis counselors will embed in the PSAPs (take calls at that location). In others, they will work closely with the PSAPs from a different location.
The pilot will run from January to December 2024. It seeks to improve access to mental health support with less delay by having 988 Lifeline crisis counselors assist with 911 calls that are better suited for 988. This will also allow first responders to focus on emergencies that require 911 dispatch.
The data from the pilot program will help DOH and partners decide whether to expand Washington 988 Lifeline services in this way.
Please reach out to the 988 program inbox with any questions.
Washington has three 988 Lifeline crisis centers that answer calls, texts, and chats from around the state:
- Volunteers of America Western Washington
- Frontier Behavioral Health
- Crisis Connections
Your call, text, or chat will be directed to one of these crisis centers based on the map to the right. Calls and texts are routed by your area code.
Crisis centers are hiring caring people right now! If you are interested in a career helping people in crisis, apply for a job with an NSPL crisis center.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL) and does the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline replace it?
NSPL is a national network of local, independent, and state-funded crisis centers. They are equipped to respond and help people in emotional distress or experiencing thoughts of suicide.
The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline does not replace the ten-digit NSPL phone number but provides another, easier way for people to reach more crisis centers. You can contact either the 988 Lifeline or call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to be connected.
- What happens when I call 988?
When you call 988, you’ll hear an automated greeting message that features additional options (option 1 for the Veterans Crisis Line, option 2 for the Spanish Line, option 3 for the LGBTQI+ Youth Subnetwork Line, and option 4 for the Native and Strong Lifeline).
If you remain on the line without choosing any of these options, your call will be routed to a local 988 Lifeline crisis center (based on your area code). If the local crisis center can't take the call, you’ll be automatically routed to another center in Washington state or a national backup crisis center. This infographic has more information about how 988 Lifeline calls are routed.
A trained crisis counselor will answer your call, text, or chat. This person will listen to you, work to understand what you’re experiencing, provide support, and collaborate with you on ways to feel better. They can also connect you with additional help or resources.
Live 988 Lifeline services are available in English and Spanish. The Lifeline also offers interpretation services in over 240 additional languages and dialects for people who call 988. Interpretation services are provided by Language Line Solutions.
- When did the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline go live nationally?
July 16, 2022. The 988 dialing code is now available nationwide.
- How is 988 different than 911?
- The 988 Lifeline 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. The 988 number provides easier access to crisis centers and crisis resources. These crisis centers and resources are distinct from the public safety purposes of 911. 911 focuses on dispatching Emergency Medical Services (EMS), fire, and police as needed.
- If I call 988, will first responders, like the police or EMS, be automatically dispatched?
The primary goal of the 988 Lifeline is to provide support for people experiencing thoughts of suicide, a mental health crisis, or emotional distress in the moments they most need it, and in a way that centers on the needs of the person in crisis.
The vast majority of those seeking help from the 988 Lifeline do not require any additional interventions at that moment. Nationally, fewer than 2% of 988 calls, texts, and chats require emergency services, like 911. While some safety and health issues may need a response from law enforcement or EMS (like when a suicide attempt is in progress), the 988 Lifeline coordinated response aims to promote stabilization and care in the least restrictive manner.
- Will 988 Lifeline calls be referred to 911?
- A small percentage of 988 Lifeline calls require activation of the 911 system when there is an immediate risk to someone’s life that can’t be reduced during the call, text, or chat. In these cases, the crisis counselor shares information with 911 to help save the life of the person in crisis.
- Will my call to 988 be recorded?
The 988 Lifeline greeting states that calls may be monitored or recorded for quality assurance purposes. Additionally, crisis centers in the 988 Lifeline network may independently use call recordings for training purposes. This depends on the best practices of the center.
People contacting the 988 Lifeline are not required to provide any personal data to receive services. The network system has several safeguards to address concerns about privacy.
- Is the 988 Lifeline available for substance use concerns?
- Yes, you can dial 988 for substance use concerns, however, in case of an overdose emergency, call 911 and administer naloxone.
- How is the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline funded?
Congress provided the Department of Health and Human Services workforce funding through the American Rescue Plan, some of which supports the 988 Lifeline workforce.
The President’s Fiscal Year 2022 budget request provides additional funding for the 988 Lifeline and for other federal crisis funding sources.
At the state level, in addition to existing public/private sector funding streams, the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act of 2020 allows states to enact new state telecommunications fees to support 988 Lifeline operations.
E2SHBs 1477 and 1134 are further funded by a tax on Washington’s phone and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) lines.
- In which languages are 988 Lifeline services available?
- Live 988 Lifeline services are available in English, Spanish, and American Sign Language (ASL). The 988 Lifeline uses Language Line Solutions to provide translation services in over 240 additional languages and dialects. Text and chat are currently available in English and Spanish only.
- Does the 988 Lifeline accommodate those who are hard of hearing or blind?
- The 988 Lifeline currently serves TTY users either through their preferred relay service or by dialing 711 then 988. The 988 Lifeline also offers services through chat and text. You can also get support in American Sign Language (ASL) by visiting the 988 Lifeline website, selecting the “For Deaf & Hard of Hearing” link, and selecting “ASL Now” on the next page.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the lead federal agency, in partnership with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Vibrant Emotional Health is the National Administrator of the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.
- 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline – Call, text, or chat 988. The ten-digit number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL), 1-800-273-TALK (8255), is still active along with 988.
- Veterans Crisis Line – Dial 988, then press 1.
- Spanish Language Line – Dial 988, then press 2.
- LGBTQI+ Youth Subnetwork Line – Dial 988, then press 3.
- Native and Strong Lifeline – Dial 988, then press 4 (when calling from a Washington area code).
- Teen Link – 1-866-TEENLINK
- The Trevor Project – 1-866-488-7386, text 678-678
- National Maternal Mental Health Hotline – 1-833-9-HELPMOMS
- Disaster Distress Helpline – 1-800-985-5990
- Trans Lifeline – 1-877-565-8860
- The Native Resource Hub is a statewide central resource line developed to meet the needs of tribes and tribally affiliated people who may need help navigating the complex behavioral health system. The Hub assists tribal agencies, health care professionals, hospitals, and in- and outpatient programs as well as families and individuals. For more information, call the Hub directly at 1-866-491-1683.
Some of these resources are available in other languages. Use the orange language selector button at the top of this page to find resources in your language.