Oregon to launch 988 suicide & crisis line

Starting on Saturday, July 16, a brand-new national help-line will begin operation, and Oregon is one of four states which will be ready to launch with full-service on schedule.

By calling or texting 988, people in Oregon who are experiencing a behavioral health crisis, or those close to them, will be connected directly with a crisis-trained professional, 24/7, who understand and utilizes the latest behavioral health techniques in addressing suicidal ideation and self-harm, substance use, or any other kind of mental health crisis.

Dialing 988 connects the individual to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. In Oregon, those phone lines are staffed by Lines for Life, and in Marion and Polk Counties, they use Northwest Human Services.

“Too many people in Oregon don’t have easy, quick access to the support and care they need when facing a mental health crisis,” said Oregon Health Authority Director Patrick Allen. “While fully implementing a transformative crisis care system will take time and further investments, the launch of 988 is a sound first step to connect more people in need with critical, life-saving care.”

The hotline will provide services both in English and Spanish, as well as interpretation services for more than 150 other languages. People in Marion and Polk County who need immediate assistance will also be able to access it through —

More than 95% of behavioral health emergencies are solved over the phone, according to the National Suicide Prevention foundation. OHA officials say they are working in communities, looking for engagement by people with lived experiences, who can help guide the process through the Crisis Advisory Work Group.

Important facts to know:

-988 will be available through every landline, cell phone and voice-over internet device in the United States, as well as text and chat.

-The current technology for 988 will route callers by area code, not geolocation.

-988 is not currently available when phones are locked or do not have prepaid minutes.

-The transition to 988 will not impact the availability of crisis services for veterans and military service members. They can call 988 and press 1 to connect with the Veterans Crisis Line.

-For support in Spanish, callers can press 2 to connect with the Red Nacional de Prevención del Suicidio.

The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline has an infographic with more information on what happens when people call, text or chat.

Learn more about 988 in Oregon on OHA’s 988 webpage.