The Federal Communications Commission recently designated 988 as the universal telephone number for the purpose of the national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline system.
The new three-digit dialing code went live on July 16, 2022. The new number will connect the caller to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and will be available 24/7/365 for call, text and chat. The existing Lifeline number, 1-800-273-8255, will also continue to be available.
To support 988, the budget signed by Governor Murphy includes nearly $29 million for call line infrastructure and services that some callers may be connected to after they call. The aim of 988 is to improve access to crisis services in a way that meets the country’s growing suicide and mental health related crisis care needs.
The 988 number will provide easier access to the Lifeline network – a national network of over 200 local, independent crisis centers equipped to help people in mental health related distress or experiencing a suicidal crisis. Some callers may be connected to services or other resource lines depending on their needs. The number will provide live crisis center calling service in English and Spanish and use Language Line Solutions to provide translation service in over 250 additional languages. At this time, the text and chat features are available in English only.
The 988 number is distinct from 911, which focuses on dispatching Emergency Medical Services, fire and police.
Numerous studies have shown that most Lifeline callers are significantly more likely to feel less depressed, less suicidal, less overwhelmed and more hopeful after speaking to a Lifeline crisis counselor.
The hope is that 988 will become the number to call when someone is experiencing severe emotional or mental distress.
Please share this information with family and friends. For more information about 988, visit state.nj.us/humanservices/dmhas/initiatives/988/.
**The Voorhees Theatre Company presents the summer young adult show Rent, School Edition, with performances on Aug. 4, 5 and 6 at the Raymond J. Brosel Performing Arts Center at the Voorhees Middle School. To learn more about VTC, visit voorheestheatre.org or call (856) 206-3554.
** Kindergarten registration for the Voorhees Township Schools is currently open and will remain open throughout the summer. Registration can be found at voorhees.12.nj.us.
** Voorhees Township is offering discounted tickets to Morey’s Piers in Wildwood. Tickets are available in the Municipal Clerk’s Office at Voorhees Town Hall. Prices vary according to the type of ticket and several options are available to residents and non-residents. For more
information about tickets, visit voorheesnj.com.