Similar to the purpose of 911, we are hopeful that "988" will become a remembered number throughout US households.
The infrastructure to support this new hotline is currently being built and the number will not be working until 2022. Until then, the number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is still 1-800-273-8255 (TALK).
The purpose of the lifeline is to help individuals create a safety plan if they’re in immediate emotional distress, or to find local mental health support. The counselors will also arrange a follow-up in the days after the call. In addition, the counselors can help family members and friends of someone experiencing a crisis by coaching them on how to provide immediate and ongoing support.