MONDAY, July 17, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- The national 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline has hit its one-year anniversary, and it appears that the public is increasingly turning to the number in times of darkness.
The most recent statistics show a substantial increase in call volume, with nearly 160,000 more crisis calls, chats, and texts in May 2023 compared with May 2022 -- two months before 988's activation on July 16.
Compared with a year before, calls answered in May increased by 45 percent; chats answered increased by 52 percent; and texts answered increased by 938 percent, according to 988 performance stats monitored by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Overall, 988 operators have answered more than 2.3 million calls and nearly 600,000 texts in the past year, Chuck Ingoglia, president and CEO of the National Council for Mental Wellbeing, said in a council news release.
"It was a great idea to begin with and has delivered a lot of its promise already," Petros Levounis, M.D., president of the American Psychiatric Association, told HealthDay. "More and more people know about 988, and what's truly great about it is when you call 988, you get a human being to talk with you, not a robot but a trained person who knows how to deal with crisis."