The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline experienced a major overhaul; on July 16, 2022, dialing 9-8-8 from any phone line now connects you, or someone you love, to a crisis call center staffed by trained crisis counselors who are prepared to help you navigate any mental health concern. Implementation of 9-8-8 will mean that people who are in crisis or experiencing mental health distress are one, easy to remember, phone call away from receiving the help they need.
1-800-273-8255 will also connect you to help.
HOW IT WORKS
Nationwide, phone calls to 988 will be routed by the caller’s area-code and prefix to a local Lifeline Contact Center. Kansans are served by three Lifeline Contact Centers, COMCARE of Sedgwick County, Johnson County Mental Health Center, and Kansas Suicide Prevention HQ. All Contact Centers provide quality services aligned to best-practice clinical recommendations approved by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Contact Centers must undergo an application process with Vibrant Emotional Health, the administrator of the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, and a third-party accreditation process, which evaluates the quality of their training programs and service delivery.
HOW DOES 988 IMPACT 911/PSAP COMMUNICATIONS & LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS
Ongoing coordination—at the federal, state, and local levels—between 988 and 911 will help individuals in crisis get the appropriate support they need, such as deploying mobile crisis teams or mental health professionals in place of police or EMS responders, when needed and where available. Efforts to collaborate with 911/PSAPs and law enforcement agencies to create safe workflows and interoperability of 988 and 911 present new opportunities to best serve people in crisis and new challenges for improving the crisis continuum in Kansas. 988’s vision is to integrate a robust crisis care response system across Kansas that links people to community-based providers who can deliver a full range of crisis care services. We envision a day when everyone across Kansas has someone to call, someone to respond, and a safe place to go for crisis care.
- 988 services are distinct and separate from the emergency medical and public safety response associated with 911.
- Free and confidential 24/7 crisis and emotional support is available by calling or texting 988.
- Individuals living in Kansas with a non-Kansas area code, or in an area of Kansas that does not correspond to their area code, should consider using their local Contact Center’s 10-digit number to ensure they are connected with Kansas counselors and local resources (see numbers below).
- The Lifeline’s existing number: 1-800-273-8255(TALK) will remain available.
- Support through 988 is available to anyone experiencing mental health related distress, including thoughts of suicide, mental health or substance use crisis, or any other kind of emotional distress.
- Crisis Counselors are trained to use the least invasive verbal and text-based interventions necessary to de-escalate an individual in a safe and compassionate manner.
- Most of the time, the call, text, or chat itself is the only intervention needed.
- Crisis Counselors are also skilled at navigating crisis situations that involve imminent risk and require immediate emergency response and dispatch via 911.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: What is 988?
A: In 2020, Congress designated 988 as the new dialing code to operate through the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (Lifeline) network of local contact centers. 988 is more than just an easy-to-remember number—it is a direct connection to compassionate, accessible support for anyone experiencing mental health related distress, including thoughts of suicide, mental health or substance use crisis, or any other kind of emotional distress. 988 will be enabled on all phone lines July 16th, 2022.
Q: How is 988 different from 911?
A: 988 was established to improve access to crisis services in a way that meets our country’s growing suicide and mental health-related crisis care needs. 988 will provide easier access to immediate mental health support to a person in crisis and connect those individuals to related crisis resources. These resources are distinct from the public safety purposes of 911, where the focus is on dispatching Emergency Medical Services, fire and police as needed.
Q: How will 988 and 911 complement each other?
A: The 988 and 911 systems will need to be closely coordinated to seamlessly allow referral of callers for appropriate care or response that addresses the unique circumstances present with each crisis encounter. SAMHSA is actively engaged with 911 counterparts at the federal, state, and local levels to plan for smooth coordination between the two services.
Q: Will 988 calls be referred to 911?
A: Currently, a small percentage (about 2%) of Lifeline calls require activation of the 911 system when there is imminent risk to someone’s life that cannot be reduced during the Lifeline call. In these cases, the crisis counselor shares information with 911 that is crucial to saving the caller’s life.
Q: Is 988 pulling funds away from 911?
A: Sources of federal funding for 988 are separate from support of the 911 system. Additionally, the Hotline Designation Act permits states to apply specific 988 fees to support crisis services in a manner that is distinct from fees used to support 911 operations. The FCC has issued a report specifically on the issue of 911 fee diversion. State and local support of both 988 and 911 are necessary to advance the well-being of our communities.
Q: What does the 988 system look like in Kansas and how does call routing work?
A: There are three Lifeline Contact Centers serving Kansans through 988: KSPHQ, Johnson County Mental Health Center, and Comcare of Sedgwick County. Calls originating from Johnson and Sedgwick County area codes and prefixes ring to their respective Contact Centers before rolling over to KSPHQ. All of the other 103 counties ring first to KSPHQ. If KSPHQ can’t answer a call, it goes to the National Backup Network to be answered by a Lifeline Contact Center in another state. This system is intended to ensure all calls are answered by a highly trained Crisis Counselor and increase the likelihood a Kansan reaching out is served by a Kansas Contact Center.
Q: What about geolocation for 988?
A: Currently, the Lifeline automatically routes calls by area code and prefix to the corresponding crisis center (unlike 911, which uses geolocation). As part of the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act of 2020, the Federal Communications Commission submitted a report examining the feasibility and cost of including an automatic dispatchable location that would be conveyed with a 988 call. Within that report, the FCC recommended that Congress establish a federal advisory committee to further examine the key issues and advise on next steps; however, this has not yet been established.
WHO ARE THE KANSAS LIFELINE CONTACT CENTERS
Kansas Suicide Prevention HQ | Lawrence, KS | Local 24/7 Crisis Line: 785-841-2345
Kansas Suicide Prevention HQ, founded under the name Headquarters in Lawrence, KS, has an over 50-year history serving Kansans. KSPHQ is a state-wide provider of suicide prevention education and support and a leader in the field of suicide and crisis care. In addition to providing 24/7 crisis and suicide intervention services to Kansans through the national 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline and local crisis line, KSPHQ provides a wide array of training and technical assistance related to suicide prevention, intervention, postvention, and crisis counseling.
Comcare of Sedgwick County | Local 24/7 Crisis Line: 316-660-7500
COMCARE’s Community Crisis Center is the suicide prevention service for Sedgwick County. The Community Crisis Center is a resource for mental health assistance, providing assessment and intervention to individuals who may be at risk for suicide. Services can be accessed in person at 635 N Main, Wichita, Kansas, or by phone through the national 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline and local crisis line. Additionally, the Community Crisis Center provides a variety of other services, which includes face-to-face intervention, mobile crisis unit response, hospital screening, crisis observation/stabilization, and sobering and detox services.
Johnson County Community Mental Health Center | Local 24/7 Crisis Line: 913-268-0156
Johnson County Mental Health Center offers a range of mental health and substance use services to residents of Johnson County and serves as a safety net for individuals with the most severe forms of mental illness who are unable to afford or access care elsewhere in the community. Crisis call specialists and licensed clinicians are on duty 24/7 to provide emergency services through the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline and local crisis line. Johnson County Mental Health Center is celebrating its 60th year of service to the community in 2022.