The Iowa Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announces the launch of 988, The National Suicide Prevention Line (NSPL) three-digit number to call for individuals in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. Iowans who contact 988 will be directly connected to trained crisis counselors who provide crisis de-escalation and connect individuals to the services and supports they need, when they need it. 

The 988 lifeline will connect people to the existing network of more than 200 local crisis call centers around the country. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s 10-digit number — 1-800-273-8255 — will remain active, but calls will be routed to 988.

People who call or text the number will be connected to a trained counselor at a crisis center closest to them. If a local crisis center is too busy to respond right away, the call gets routed to one of 16 backup centers around the country.

For the vast majority of people who call the current National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, the call itself is an effective intervention.

“The pandemic exposed and magnified the strain families are facing today. Connecting Iowans to quick and reliable support for emotional distress through 988 marks a sea change in how we approach crisis response”, said Iowa HHS Director Kelly Garcia. “The need for these resources is increasing, we see it in our data and in our existing services. Your Life Iowa had a record number of contacts in May of this year. Our teams are ready to answer more calls, texts, and chats, and to be a lifeline when Iowans use 988.”

For more information, visit tSAMHSA he link: