Many people in the United States will struggle with mental health in their lives, with a considerable portion unable to access mental health services due to costs or other barriers. In response, Congress has expanded free national mental health services. Effective July 16, they have implemented a toll-free nationwide telephone number that anyone in need of mental health crisis services may contact at any time: 988.
Anyone, anywhere, 24/7 will be able to call or text 988, or chat on 988lifeline.org with a crisis counselor if they or someone they know is experiencing a mental health or substance use-related crisis.
Calls or texts to 988 and chats by 988lifeline.org are free, confidential and compassionate (carrier fees may apply for counseling by text). The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline utilizes the guidance of experts, as well as the voices of lived experience, to continually provide quality services and connections to a network of crisis counselors and local community crisis centers across the United States. Spanish and other language speaking crisis counselors are also available.
In Los Angeles County, 911 emergency and 988 mental health services will work together to create a better system of care for mental health crises. Mental health crisis-related calls to 911 will be sent to 988, and unless there is immediate danger, crisis calls requiring immediate care will result in the dispatch of a Mobile Crisis Unit. The Crisis Response System will work to make sure that those who require mental health care receive it from the right place and don’t end up in jail or a hospital without the help they need.
Mental health care is just as important as physical health care. There’s no shame in asking for help for yourself or a loved one, so reach out to 988 for support and resources.