On July 16, 2022, the newly designated 9-8-8, three-digit number, began routing individuals to the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, where compassionate, accessible care and support are available 24/7 for anyone experiencing a mental health, suicide, or substance use crisis. The 988 line is confidential and free for all. The Lifeline number, 1-800-273-8255, will continue to function. After July 16, 2022, both numbers will connect individuals to the same services.
"The launch of the 988 crisis line will establish a more streamlined and effective resource for Missourians in behavioral health crisis," Governor Parson said. "We know that when individuals are experiencing crisis the sooner we can connect them to support and provide assistance the better. The launch of 988 is an important step in addressing the mental health crisis and saving lives."
The 988 line will be the first step to engage individuals experiencing a behavioral health crisis. There are seven crisis centers in Missouri responsible for answering 988 contacts for the state. The trained crisis specialists at each center will listen, work to understand how the individual’s problems are affecting them, provide support, and connect them to resources. Crisis specialists will also have the ability to dispatch mobile crisis response teams for additional crisis response wherever the crisis is occurring in the community and based on the needs of the person.
“The Missouri Department of Mental Health is seizing this opportunity to advance current crisis services towards an evidence-based care continuum prepared to deliver high-quality behavioral health services statewide,” said DMH Director Valerie Huhn. “Providing consistent crisis care and support will be integral to reducing the burden on and misuse of law enforcement/emergency response and other public health services.”
While 988 is a national initiative, it is up to each state to ensure crisis services are available to anyone, anywhere, and anytime. After nearly two years of planning and preparation, Missouri’s 988 centers are prepared and ready to answer the projected 253,000 contacts (calls, texts, and chats) expected in the first year of the 988 implementation.
For more information on 988 in Missouri, please visit https://dmh.mo.gov/behavioral-health/988-suicide-and-crisis-lifeline.
Need to talk or get immediate help in a crisis? Help is available. If you or a loved one need assistance, please reach out by calling or texting 988, or chatting at https://988lifeline.org/.