988: The First Year and Beyond

Since its launch one year ago, 988 has fielded nearly 5 million calls, texts, and chat. According to a recent report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, there have been about 2 million more contacts in the past year than in the 12 months prior, when the hotline could only be reached at 1-800-273-8255.

The 5 million contacts is nearly 2 million more than the previous 12 months.

The 988 option was added to make it easier for people to remember, providing an alternative to 911 for situations that don’t require police or emergency services. With a $1 billion funding boost from the government, the new line has also invested more in text and chat functions, which have seen an exponential increase in use.

Those changes have helped the average response time go from 2 minutes and 39 seconds to 41 seconds. “This means that more people are getting help and they are getting help more quickly, which is crucial for a person in crisis,” Miriam E. Delphin-Rittmon, the leader of SAMHSA, said in a press release.

Expanding Lifesaving Services

  • 988 added Spanish text and chat services
  • 988 added specialized services for LGBTQI+ youth and young adults
  • In the coming months, 988 will add video phone service

Much more information, including a look at the Behavioral Health Continuum and a breakdown of the cooperative agreements (funding streams) per states is available in the complete brief.  See the full report by clicking here.