What You Need to Know
July 2023 marks the one-year anniversary of 988. A year prior, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) officially transitioned to an easy-to-remember, 3-digit number (988) across the U.S. Options for texting and online chat are also rapidly expanding.
Delaware successfully transitioned to 988 in 2022, with 24/7/365 coverage across all three counties. During the first year, Delaware received 5,374 calls seeking mental health and suicidal crisis support or resources. Of those, 3,937 (73%) were answered in state while 854 (16%) were redirected to a national backup center. In addition, 50 calls to 988 required an activation of 911, and 34 calls involved a suicide attempt in progress.
Other existing behavioral health crisis lines and mobile response in Delaware continue to operate:
- Adult Crisis Hotlines: 1-800-652-2929 (Northern); 1-800-345-6785 (Southern)
- Mobile Response Stabilization Service (Child Crisis Program): 1-800-969-HELP (4357)
- Anyone can call or text 988 or chat 988lifeline.org for themselves or if they are worried about a loved one who may need crisis support.
- What happens when you call 988?
- Callers will hear a greeting message while their call is routed, based on the caller's area code, to a local 988 Lifeline center in Delaware, where trained professionals will listen and assist.
- Callers will also be given the option to reach the Veterans Crisis Line (Press 1), a Spanish speaker (Press 2), or connect with a counselor especially trained to support LGBTQ+ youth and young adults (Press 3).
- If a regional call center is unavailable, the call will be routed to the national backup network to assess the crisis and connect to local assistance.
- Currently, people with Delaware's 302 area code who call 988 are connected with ContactLifeline, Delaware's only Lifeline Center.
- Work is underway to add a second Lifeline Center operated by DHSS's Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health by 2024.
- ContactLifeline, Inc. has been operating in Delaware since 1974 and has been serving as the state's only National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Center.
- ContactLifeline provides telephone counseling, crisis intervention, referral information, education, and prevention services for persons in crisis, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
- ContactLifeline is funded in part by Delaware's Department of Health and Social Services using federal funds, as well as through the Delaware Criminal Justice Council.