State Has Secured Full Coverage
of 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline
Governor Kathy Hochul announced the successful implementation of 988 in New York State as the new three-digit number to call or text to be connected to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. All 62 counties in New York State will be covered for the launch of the new 988 Lifeline, which will ensure that anyone with a New York area code contacting 988 will be connected to one of New York’s 988 crisis centers.
“Connecting people who are experiencing a mental health crisis or considering suicide to trained counselors can significantly help them through difficulties that seem insurmountable, and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides hope and support to those who need it most,” Governor Hochul said. “By implementing 988, we are providing these individuals, as well as their families and friends, an easy-to-remember number that will give them access to the services they need.”
“It is incumbent upon us as New Yorkers to provide those among us who are struggling with mental health issues with the help they need, when they need it,” said Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado. “Crisis don’t only happen during business hours, so implementing this lifeline, which is available any time of the day or night, will help save lives.”
The FY 2023 Enacted Budget included $35 million to significantly expand 988 crisis call center capacity throughout New York State. This funding will increase to $60 million on a full annual basis starting in FY 2024. OMH has also allocated one-time funding of $10 million in federal supplemental Community Mental Health Services Block Grant resources to the 988 crisis call centers, allowing them to expand statewide capacity and infrastructure. New York State also received a $7.2 million federal grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to aid in the rollout of the new 988 Lifeline.
Calling 988 provides a direct connection to compassionate, accessible care and support for anyone experiencing mental health or substance abuse related distress. A chat feature will also be available through the Lifeline’s website (988lifeline.org).
The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline will be able to: Connect people experiencing a mental health or substance use crisis to a trained counselor who can address their immediate needs and help connect them to ongoing care; Reduce health care spending with more cost-effective early intervention; Reduce use of law enforcement, public health, and other safety resources; Meet the growing need for crisis intervention; and Help end stigma toward those seeking or accessing mental healthcare.
The new 988 Lifeline will also help achieve another one of Governor Hochul’s goals – removing obstacles to healthcare and reducing disparities in access, quality, and treatment outcomes for historically marginalized, underserved and unserved populations. This includes people of color, members of the LGBTQ community, older adults, rural New Yorkers, veterans, immigrants, people with disabilities and people who have limited English proficiency.
There are currently 13 operating 988 crisis contact centers in New York State and two in the development stage.
New York State Office of Mental Health Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan said, “The 988 Lifeline will further strengthen New York’s crisis response system by connecting individuals experiencing a behavioral health crisis to trained counselors who can provide immediate assistance and access to services. People can also contact 988 if they are worried about a loved one who may need crisis support. Governor Hochul has made implementation of 988 a top priority, and provided the resources needed to successfully launch the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.”
Senator Charles E. Schumer said, “988 is the new 911 for fellow New Yorkers who are dealing with mental health crises. I am proud we delivered the federal funding to jumpstart this new national lifeline and applaud Governor Kathy Hochul for swiftly implementing it. If you are struggling or need help, know that you are not alone: dial 988.”
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) designated 988 as the new three-digit number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act was signed into law in October 2020, with the requirement for phone service providers to transition to 988 as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by July 16, 2022.