New Mental Health Hotline 988 – Call Before the Crisis

If you or a loved one is experiencing a mental health crisis, including suicidal thoughts, substance use, or another mental health issue, help is only three digits away – dial 988 and a trained crisis contact person will be ready to talk and connect you with help in your area if needed. People can also text to receive help, all from their Bucks County, PA home.

The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline (formerly called the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline) is a network of more than 200 state and local call centers supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The 988 service provides 24/7 access to trained professionals who can talk people through their crises and will warm-transfer the person to emergency services or a mobile crisis service. Warm transfer means they won’t tell you to “call this number.” They will make the connection for you and introduce you to the next resource so you will be able to speak with someone here in Bucks County, PA, or wherever the closest service is to your location, to get the help you need.

In mid-summer of 2022, the 988 number was launched to replace the old hotline, 1-800-273-TALK, which had been in existence for 20 years. This number still works, but the hope is that by changing to an easy-to-remember number, closely related to the well-known 911 emergency number, more people will use the service and will get the help they need quickly.

It seems to be working, because in the first month alone, July 2022, call centers saw a 50% increase in use. Furthermore, studies have indicated that after receiving help through the 988 Lifeline, most people are significantly more likely to feel less depressed, less suicidal, less overwhelmed, and more hopeful. This is very good news.

However mental health emergencies are not the only crises people experience, and often mental health problems are closely connected with other life crises. On the convenient website, you can enter your zip code to find additional help near you for needs such as:

  • Food – emergency food, help paying for food
  • Housing – finding shelter, help with repairs, advice
  • Goods – clothing, home goods, child and baby products, toys
  • Transit – public transportation costs or help with buying a vehicle
  • Health – medical, dental, vision, reproductive, help paying bills
  • Finances – learning about budgeting and finance, getting a loan, insurance, tax prep
  • Care – daycare, elder care, safety, community support
  • Education – building skills, further education, preschool, tests
  • Work – finding work, work expenses, worker rights
  • Legal – mediation, representation, translation & interpretation

No one needs to walk alone when struggling through a life crisis. Be sure to reach out to the mental health Lifeline 988 or visit to get the help you need so you can put yourself back on your feet and provide a brighter future for yourself.


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