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Suicide prevention hotline adds sign-language services

Photo: Sinenkiy/iStockphoto

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.

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