AT&T to Support 988 Hotline to Help Combat Mental Health Crisis in America
What’s the news? AT&T is supporting the three-digit emergency hotline code, 988, for suicide prevention and mental health crisis services. Voice calls to 988 will be directed to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (Lifeline) to help individuals in crisis.
Why is this important? The United States is experiencing a crisis, and we want to be a part of the solution. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), symptoms of anxiety disorder and depressive disorder increased considerably in the United States during April–June of 2020, compared with the same period in 2019. In response to these trends, in 2020 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Congress designated 988 as an easy to remember code for Americans to reach the Lifeline. The availability of 988, its ease of use and recollection, and the education associated with its adoption will help countless at-risk Americans to get the help they urgently need. 988 is a priority for AT&T and we esteem the 24/7 confidential support and crisis resources that the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Lifeline and the US Department of Veterans Affairs Veterans Crisis Line provide.
When will 988 be ready? 99% of AT&T’s wireless customers can dial 988 right now. AT&Tcustomers on a wireline will be able to dial 988 by the July 2022 national implementation date, after which all 988 voice calls will reach Lifeline crisis counselors and beyond for specialized services. Implementation of 988 functionality in communications networks nationwide highlights the critical nature of technology in the Lifeline’s success and the value that technology can create in enhancing behavioral health. Now and after the nationwide adoption of 988, Americans can also continue to use the Lifeline’s toll-free number, 800-273-TALK (8255), to reach 24/7 help. You can also visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org for more information and resources.