Reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and Veterans Crisis Line by Phone and Text

By Phone:

Call 1-800-273-8255 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline today. 988 is not a nationwide calling code right now.

Veterans should Press 1 to be connected with the Veterans Crisis Line.

By Text:

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is also available today through online chats. 988 is not a nationwide texting code right now.

Service members, Veterans, and their families can reach the Veterans Crisis Line by texting 838255, and through online chats at veteranscrisisline.net.

Transition to Calling 988:

On July 16, 2020, the FCC adopted rules to establish 988 as the new, nationwide, easy-to-remember 3-digit phone number for Americans in crisis to connect with suicide prevention and mental health crisis counselors.

The rules require phone service providers1 to direct all 988 calls to the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by July 16, 2022. During the transition to 988, Americans who need help should continue to contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by calling 1-800-273-8255 (1-800-273-TALK) and through online chats. Veterans and Service members may reach the Veterans Crisis Line by pressing 1 after dialing, chatting online at www.veteranscrisisline.net, or texting 838255.

The new rules will apply to all telecommunications carriers as well as all interconnected and one-way Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service providers. They provide for a two-year transition, reflecting the nature of this nationwide effort, including the need for network changes and providing time for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to prepare for the expected increase in the volume of calls. Under these rules, calls to 988 will be directed to 1-800-273-TALK, which will remain operational during the 988 transition and after it is completed.

To ensure that calls to 988 reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, all covered providers will be required to implement 10-digit dialing in areas that both use seven-digit dialing and use 988 as the first three numbers in seven-digit phone numbers.

Timeline for Transition to 10-Digit Dialing:

  • Beginning October 24, 2021, consumers should dial 10-digits (area code + telephone number) for all local calls. Some providers have already implemented 10-digit dialing and some are phasing in 10-digit dialing between October 24, 2021 and July 15, 2022. On July 15, 2022, all providers must complete this process in all of the affected area codes in their service areas. On and after this date, local calls dialed with only 7 digits may not be completed, and a recording will inform you that your call cannot be completed as dialed. Consumers must hang up and dial again using the area code and the 7-digit number.
  • Beginning July 16, 2022, dialing “988” will route calls to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

The North American Numbering Plan Administrator has a complete listing of affected area codes and resource materials for local government and community organizations.

In the meantime, anyone in the United States experiencing a suicidal crisis or emotional distress should call 1-800-273-8255.

Coming Soon: Texting to 988

On November 18, 2021, the Commission adopted a Second Report and Order to expand access to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by establishing the ability to text 988 to directly reach the Lifeline to better support at-risk communities in crisis, including youth and individuals with disabilities.

The Second Report and Order requires covered text providers2 to support texting to 988 by routing text messages sent to 988 to the Lifeline’s 10-digit number, 1-800-273-8255 (TALK). Covered text providers will be required to support text messaging to 988 by July 16, 2022—the same date the FCC has established 988 as the 3-digit dialing code for Americans to reach the Lifeline by telephone.

Before July 16, 2022, Americans who need help but prefer to communicate via text may contact the Lifeline through online chats. Service Members, Veterans, and their families may reach the Veterans Crisis Line now and continuing after July 16, 2022 by text by either texting 838255, or through an online chat portal on the Veterans Crisis Line’s website, www.veteranscrisisline.net.


1 These rules apply to all telecommunications carriers and interconnected voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service providers, including one-way VoIP providers.

2 These rules apply to CMRS providers and providers of interconnected text messaging services that enable consumers to send text messages to and receive text messages from all or substantially all text-capable U.S. telephone numbers, including through the use of applications downloaded or otherwise installed on mobile phones.

 

 

Updated: 
Monday, November 22, 2021