Interim Police Chief Kenneth Fong and the Bedford Police Department wish to share information regarding the new National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number, 988, which took effect on Saturday, July 16.
The 988 dialing code will become the new national number routing callers to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline across the U.S. on July 16. The new phone line will be accessible 24/7/365 by call or by text.
The new number was designated by Congress in 2020. Similar to calling 911 for emergency response, the three-digit number is easy to remember for individuals experiencing suicidal thoughts or struggling with emotional distress, or for those worried about a friend to loved one.
Beginning July 16, when individuals call or text 988 they will be connected with trained counselors from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline network. Counselors will listen, understand how the caller’s problems are affecting them, provide support and connect them to resources if necessary. The Lifeline can also be reached through online chat suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat.
Language translation services are also available to all callers, including the Spanish Language Line, which can be accessed by pressing 2 after dialing.
Military service members, veterans and their families may reach the Veterans Crisis Line by pressing 1 after dialing 9-8-8, as well as by chatting online at veteranscrisisline.net or texting 838255.
LGBTQ youth may also use the Trevor Lifeline by calling 1-866-488-7386 or texting 678-678 to access information and support for LGBTQ youth.
The current Lifeline hotline number, 1-800-273-8255, will remain in service even after the launch of 988. Dialing either number will route callers to the same services, no matter which number they use.
According to the Lifeline, suicide is the second-leading cause of death among young people, and, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, was the tenth-leading cause of death in the nation. The Lifeline has received over 20 million calls from people in distress looking for support from its inception in 2005 to 2020.
Interim Chief Fong and the Bedford Police Department encourage anyone who may be struggling or knows someone who is struggling to call the Lifeline for help and to get the necessary resources.