988 Lifeline & How It Impacts The Shore
The Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services and the Virginia Department of Health announced the successful transition of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to the three-digit 988 number.
988 is more than just an easy-to-remember number—it’s a direct connection to compassionate, accessible care and support for anyone experiencing mental health-related distress. Similar to dialing 911 in emergencies, anyone who needs mental health support can dial 988, whether they are experiencing thoughts of suicide, mental health or substance use crisis, or any other kind of emotional distress.
People can also dial 988 if they are worried about a loved one who may need crisis support.
What does this mean for me?
It’s important to note that 988 does not replace existing resources in our community. Our emergency services line will still operate around the clock. Our staff will not be at the center to answer 988 calls, but we do partner with the center to make sure that individuals in crisis can receive the right services.
For more information on our Emergency Services, please visit escsb.org/services/emergency-services.
What happens when I call 988?
Calls to 988 will be sent to a regional call center run by the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. Trained paraprofessional volunteers and crisis line workers will answer the calls and texts and will offer a caring ear, referrals to community mental health services, and discuss safety planning for individuals struggling with suicidal thoughts.
You can also call 988 if you are concerned about someone’s emotional health and receive ideas on how to help.
Can I text 988?
Yes, you can text 988, if you prefer not to call. This can oftentimes make it more approachable and easier to seek help. You can also go online to chat with a crisis line worker at 988lifeline.org/chat.