The National 988 Suicide Hotline is now officially in operation in Alaska. The national hotline for mental health emergencies is expected to respond to millions of contacts driven by calls, texts and chats. Overall, the contacts are expected to reach upwards of 7.6 million contacts yearly.
The Lifeline has been in operation since 2005, operating out of over 200 crisis centers scattered across the United States. They have been staffed with trained counselors, proving to be a very effective intervention for handling mental health emergencies. Having a nationwide designated number will result in quick help for those experiencing suicidal thoughts and other mental health emergencies. The 988 hotline brings the broader directive to provide 24/7 phone or text support for anyone with a mental health emergency.
- In 2020, the United States had a death by suicide every 11 minutes
- In 2020, Alaska’s rate of suicide was more than double the national rate
- Youth and young adults in Alaska have the highest rate of suicides in the United States
- Help will continue to be available at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273- 8255 or the Alaska Careline at 1-877-265-4357 and 988
Alaskans who dial 988 from the 907 area code will be connected to the Alaska Careline. I am excited about this additional resource for Alaska and cities like ours that struggle to fulfill the needs of the community.