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Posted on: December 7, 2023

The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline

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Are you or a loved one experiencing a crisis, emotional distress, or thoughts of suicide? Call, text, or chat 988: The 988 Lifeline is available in both English and Spanish.

What is the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline?

Nobody needs to go through life alone. Help is available for those who are struggling and in need of support. 988 is a three-digit number that routes callers directly with the 988 Lifeline in an effort to help prevent suicide. The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is here 24/7 for those seeking emotional comfort, professional counseling, and beneficial resources. Learn more at

What Happens When You Call, Text, or Chat 988?

The 988 Lifeline is available in both English and Spanish.

Calling 988:

What happens when someone calls 988? Callers will hear a message telling them that they have reached the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. Music will play as the phone routes the call to the closest crisis center based on the caller’s area code. They’ll then be connected to a skilled, trained crisis counselor who will listen attentively, work to understand what the caller is going through, provide support, and collaborate on ways to feel better. The caller will be connected with helpful resources.

Texting 988:

When someone texts the Lifeline, they will complete a short survey to assist a crisis counselor in better understanding the texter’s current situation. The trained counselor will work to understand what the texter is experiencing, and they will connect them with resources.

Find more information at

Chatting 988:

Visit to access the Lifeline chat. The chat visitor will complete a short survey to let a crisis counselor know about their current situation, receive a wait-time message, then get connected with a counselor. The trained counselor will speak with the chatter to understand what is affecting them, provide support, and share helpful resources. 

If you speak Spanish and want to chat, visit

How can you help a loved one in crisis?

It can be a scary, helpless feeling when a loved one expresses a desire to hurt themselves or is showing signs of distress. If some exhibits the following, reach out to the Lifeline for assistance:

  • Talks about wanting to die or hurt themselves.
  • Searching on the Internet for ways to hurt themselves.
  • Talks about feeling hopeless with no reason to live.
  • Feels trapped or in unbearable pain.
  • Believes they are a burden to others.
  • Increased or sudden drug and/or alcohol use.
  • Acting reckless, anxious, or agitated.
  • Sleeping too much or too little.
  • Noticeable isolation or withdrawing from others.
  • Showing rage or seeking revenge.
  • Extreme mood swings.

For a list of Do’s and Don’ts in these situations, action steps, and more tips, visit

Chesapeake Data

The following research was conducted for Chesapeake Integrated Behavioral Healthcare’s suicide prevention data:

  • According to the 2021 Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of Virginia’s Annual Report, Chesapeake had a recorded 36 deaths due to suicide and a rate of 14.6 per 100,000 people.
  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, during the time period of 2018-2020, males in Chesapeake had a rate of 21.7 and females had a rate of 6.2  
  • Following the completion of the Chesapeake Regional Healthcare’s community health needs assessment completed in 2021, anxiety, obesity, and depression were the top three problems listed in most neighborhoods.
  • Before the pandemic, the Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters (CHKD) averaged around 1,000 emergency room visits per year for mental health issues. In 2021, it was nearly double that.

36 lives lost in 2021 were 36 too many. Talking can save a life. Reach out to 988 or visit for 24/7, free and confidential support.

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