988 is a new three-digit emergency number for behavioral health crises. 988 officially launched on July 16, 2022, and is accessible 24/7, anywhere in the United States.
In October 2020, the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act (federal legislation designating 988 as the three-digit dialing code for the Lifeline) was signed into law. This triumph was the outcome of many years of activism by the mental health community for the creation of an easy-to-remember telephone number that would increase accessibility of the Lifeline. The Federal Communications Commission has required telephone providers to make calls to the Lifeline via 988 accessible by July 16, 2022. Over time, the vision for 988 is to have additional crisis services available in communities across the nation, much the way emergency medical services work.
What will 988 look like in North Dakota?
When a North Dakota resident calls 988, a trained member of the state's Lifeline crisis center, FirstLink, answers. FirstLink staff listen to the caller, understand how their problem is affecting them, provide support, and share resources if needed. If additional support is needed, FirstLink connects the person to their local Human Service Center’s mobile crisis team.