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The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is adding a new number—here's what you need to know

CONTENT WARNING: This piece discusses suicide and mental health, which may be distressing for some readers.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HSS) just launched a new shortcut for people seeking to access the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. By dialing "988," anyone can get connected with trained counselors. Experts hope that the shorter number will make it easier for people to dial for help. These changes have been underway since 2020, but they will officially take effect today—so it's crucial that more and more people know about them ASAP.

The only problem? Most teens *don't* know about the switch. A new poll conducted by The Trevor Project showed that around 69% of respondents hadn't "seen, read or heard much of anything" about the new number. With suicide rates at the highest level (increasing for adolescents by nearly 60% since 2007), it's more important than ever for teens to have resources. 

Thankfully, the Department of Health and Human Services recently announced $105 million in grants to help states prepare for the transition. Through guidance documents, toolkits and social media content, they hope to advise others and create more recognition around this important change. 

If you or someone you know needs to contact the service before July, please call the Lifeline's existing number (1-800-273-8255). It will still remain in service, even after the new number (988) takes effect. You can also look HERE for some GL-approved resources.

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by Samara Smukler | 7/16/2022
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