Reflecting on first year of 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline

“You saved my life – quite literally – and I need to thank you.”

With every call, we can provide life-changing and life-saving support for individuals and families across Iowa. This month, we reflect on the one-year anniversary of the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, previously the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. 

We are honored to be one of two Iowa nonprofit agencies that are part of the national 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline network. The national 988 network consists of more than 200 local crisis centers that answer phone, text, and chat contacts in their area. 

The introduction of an easy-to-remember dialing code (9-8-8) allows for easier, faster connection with crisis services nationwide. In the first year of 988 (July 2022 through April 2023), Iowa crisis centers (including Foundation 2 Crisis Services) saw a 142% percent increase in Lifeline contacts compared to the same period the previous year. 

Between July 2022 and May 2023, of Iowans who reached out to 988:

  • 62% reported experiencing a mental health crisis
  • 33% reported experiencing emotional distress
  • 5% reported having a suicide-related concern

Numerous studies of 988 Lifeline calls have shown that the majority of callers were significantly more likely to feel less depressed, less suicidal, and more hopeful after speaking with a counselor. 

In more than 97 percent of contacts answered by Foundation 2 Crisis Services and CommUnity in the last year, the issue was able to be adequately handled by the crisis counselor over phone, chat or text. In cases where further support is requested, the counselor can connect the individual in crisis to local resources, such as mobile crisis, which dispatches crisis counselors to respond in-person.

We encourage you to consider how we all play a role in suicide prevention. Research shows that people who are having thoughts of suicide feel relief when someone expresses concern in a caring way.  Talking about suicide can reduce – rather than increase – thoughts of suicide. Check in with yourself and your loved ones and know where to go when extra support is needed.

Learn more about our free support services

We are honored to be part of the national 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline network. The expanded reach in the first year of 988 illustrates how vital these services are to supporting Iowans in crisis.

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