The new 988 mental health crisis hotline received significantly more calls in August, its first fully operational month, compared with the number of calls received in August 2021 by the old 10-digit suicide prevention line it replaced.
NPR reports 988 received 216,000 calls in August, compared with 141,400 calls to the old number in August 2021. The new crisis line received 39,900 texts, compared with 3,400 to the old crisis line.
Overall, the new crisis line received 45% more calls, texts and chats this August compared with last August. The average response time for calls, chats and texts decreased from 2 minutes and 30 seconds last August down to 42 seconds this August.
“Our nation’s transition to 988 moves us closer to better serving the crisis care needs of people across America,” Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a news release. “988 is more than a number, it’s a message: we’re there for you. The transition to 988 is just the beginning. We will continue working towards comprehensive, responsive crisis care services nationwide to save lives.”