Suicide prevention hotline adds sign-language services
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 988 – now features services in American Sign Language.
People can connect via video call with crisis counselors proficient in ASL by visiting 988lifeline.org and clicking “For Deaf & Hard of Hearing.” In a Sept. 8 press release, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration says direct dialing to 988 from a videophone “will be available in the coming weeks.”
In the interim, people who use ASL to communicate can access video call services by dialing (800) 273-8255.
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that, in 2021, suicide was the second-leading cause of death nationwide among people ages 10-14 and 25-34.
“Individuals across America who use ASL as their primary language can now readily access the support they need during a mental health crisis,” Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said in the release.
The lifeline is available year-round, 24/7. SAMHSA transitioned it from an 800 telephone number in July 2022.