24/7 Free, Confidential Support for Suicidal Crisis or Emotional Distress
988 is a new, easy-to-remember dialing code that directs callers in need to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline network and Utah’s integrated crisis response system. Callers from Utah will be connected to the Utah Crisis Line, staffed by certified crisis workers at HMHI. 988 is confidential, no-cost, and available 24/7/365, connecting those experiencing mental health, substance use, or suicidal crises with trained crisis counselors.
Access is available through every landline, cell phone, and voice-over-internet device in the United States. 988 call services will be available in Spanish along with interpretation services in over 150 languages.
How Does 988 Work?
When you call 988, you have the option to select the Veterans Crisis Line or the Spanish Language Crisis Line. If you don't select either of those options and have a Utah area code, you will be routed to the Utah Crisis Line. If after three minutes your call is unanswered, you will be connected to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline backup affiliate network.
When you text or chat 988, you will be asked to complete a short survey about your current situation. Then you will be connected to a live, trained crisis counselor through a secure online platform.
988 offers easy-to-access compassionate care for people experiencing any type of mental health crisis
Including thoughts of suicide, mental health and substance use crises, or any emotional distress for either themselves or their loved ones
Collaboration & Partnership
The launch of 988 is being led locally by the Utah Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Substance Use and Mental Health and Huntsman Mental Health Institute, in partnership with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and many statewide and national partners.
“The University of Utah has been a longstanding partner in operating Utah’s crisis line. In partnership with the Huntsman Mental Health Institute, the state’s primary focus is making sure everybody who calls the hotline has someone to speak to anytime and anywhere.”
About the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is made up of an expansive national network of over 200 local crisis centers. Calls are routed to the closest center based on area code, with the goal of connecting callers to counselors in their own state. Callers with a Utah area code are routed to the locally and state funded Utah Crisis Line, operated by certified crisis workers at Huntsman Mental Health Institute.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is 988 like 911?
988 services are distinct and separate from the emergency medical and public safety response associated with 911. 988 crisis counselors are trained to use the least-invasive interventions (call, text, or chat) to connect callers to the help they need. However, ongoing coordination between 988 and 911 is critical to connecting callers to additional emergency services when needed.
Is 988 a Utah-based service?
Short answer: yes. 988 launched in Utah on July 16, 2022, with the national rollout. Calls placed to 988 will follow the same methods described above. Text and chat services are also available.
Callers who are connected with the Utah Crisis Line will receive specialized, individualized support by certified crisis workers trained in suicide prevention, de-escalation and stabilization, and resources. The Utah Crisis Line will continue to work closely with the mobile crisis outreach teams across the state to support anybody who needs in-person intervention by a crisis-trained person.
Why do we need it?
Research shows that suicide hotlines save lives. The adoption of an easy-to-remember number, that will include text and chat, is vital in beginning to resolve mental health crises.
But, 988 is more than just an easy-to-remember number—it is a direct connection to compassionate, accessible care and support for anyone experiencing mental health related distress. Too many Utahns experience crises, and COVID-19, together with global distress has further compounded this. In 2020 alone, the U.S. had one death by suicide every 11 minutes—and for people aged 10-34 years, suicide is a leading cause of death.
What about SafeUT?
SafeUT is a distinct app and integrated system of care available 24/7 and managed by HMHI master’s level mental health counselors that coordinate closely with school administrators, and local law enforcement (as needed for high-risk safety concerns). SafeUT is a different system of care, staffing model, and method for accessing mental health crisis care (smartphone app vs. chat, text, and phone call through 988). SafeUT users can start a real-time chat with mental health counselors, report a confidential school safety concern through the “Submit a Tip” feature, or start a call through the app that connects to the Utah Crisis Line directly.
Students, parents, and educators should continue to use SafeUT for the most school-specific response that aligns with existing safety protocols and practices. SafeUT is available for any size crisis, any time, and can be downloaded at no-cost on any app store. Learn more at safeut.org.