988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline

988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline

Need support now?

Call 988 or Text 988 or Chat 988lifeline.org/chat

  • What is 988? 988 is more than just an easy-to-remember number. It is a direct connection to compassionate, accessible care and support for anyone experiencing mental health-related distress, including family, friends, and/or caregivers.
    If you are in crisis, please call or text 988, or go to 988lifeline.org/chat to access live chat. You will be connected with a trained crisis counselor who will listen to you, provide support and get you the help you need.
  • When should I call 988? If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide or experiencing a mental health or substance use crisis, 988 provides a connection to free, 24/7 confidential support.
  • What happens when I call 988? At the beginning of the call, callers have the option to select the Veterans Crisis Line or the Spanish language Crisis Line. If the caller with an Illinois area code does not select either of these options, they will be routed to an Illinois Life Line Call Center. If after 3 minutes, the call is not answered by a live person, the caller is routed to the NSPL backup affiliate network, or someone in a different state.
  • What can I expect from 988? Callers who are connected with the Illinois Life Line will receive specialized, individualized support by Certified Crisis Workers trained in suicide prevention, de-escalation and stabilization, and resources. The Illinois Life Line will continue to work closely with the mobile crisis outreach teams across the state to support anybody who needs in-person intervention by a crisis-trained person. Text and chat services will be added at a later date.
  • Fact:
    A Call to 988 does not automatically facilitate a police response.
  • Fact:
    988 Call specialists are trained in suicide prevention and crisis intervention.
  • Fact:
    Dialing 988 reaches the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. The former 800 number works, too!
  • Fact:
    988 is not just for someone who is actively suicidal

Partner Toolkit

Communication Outreach Material

What's the difference between 988, 911, 211/311, other local hotlines and
The Governor's Challenge ?

  • 988

    • Suicide prevention and mental health crisis lifeline
    • Access point to statewide community-based crisis resources such as mobile crisis outreach teams
    • Specialized intervention by certified crisis workers with advanced training in de-escalation and clinical suicide prevention
    • Confidential, free, and available 24/7/365
  • 911

    • Emergency line for public safety emergencies, medical emergencies, and law enforcement
    • Provides limited de-escalation or emotional support; staffed with public safety answering point dispatch workers
    • Offers de-escalation under emergency situations rather than de-escalaction under a mental health crisis situation that 988 offers
    • If the public safety or medical emergency is pertaining to someone who has a mental health condition, or appears to be experiencing a mental health crisis, a crisis intervention team (CIT) trained officer with basic training in mental health crises may be available through 911 dispatch
    • Free, and available 24/7/365
  • 211/311

    • Resource support line the links callers to resources
    • Ability to transfer callers to the Lifeline Line
    • Free, and available 24/7/365
    • 311 is specific to Chicago and Cook County, while 211 is available in some select Illinois counties
  • Local mental health/substance use crisis hotlines

    • Resource for people who need help getting into behavioral health services
    • Various hours of operation, according to the hotline's capacity
    • Provides screening, assessment and referrals to helpful services
  • Illinois Warm Line:

    • Free phone support for anyone living in Illinois to include emotional support, recovery education, self-advocacy support, and referrals
    • Staffed by Certified Recovery Support Specialist (CRSS)
    • Not a crisis line, rather, works with callers to address aspects of their wellness by identifying triggers, developing action plans, and learning what is necessary to maintain wellness
    • Free, available Mon-Sat, 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.
  • The Governor's Challenge
  • 988 Toolkit

    • Access assets and resources intended for promotion of the 988 dialing code
    • Assets include a Frequently Asked Questions document, an infographic flyer and social media posts
  • CESSA Placeholder

    On August 25, 2021, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed into law the Community Emergency Services and Supports Act (CESSA), also known as the Stephon Watts Act. This new legislation requires emergency response operators such as those at 911 centers, to refer calls seeking mental and behavioral health support to a new service that can dispatch a team of mental health professionals instead of police. Work to implement CESSA will occur over the next year and is expected to be complete by January 1, 2023.