Emily Rice Published

988 Suicide Line Shares Success Stories

A person is holding a cell phone reading a text message.Pixabay.com

September is National Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month, but all year long, the 988 suicide and crisis hotline takes calls and messages from people experiencing mental health crises.

In July 2022, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline became 988, an easy-to-remember lifeline created to help people dealing with depression, substance use and suicidal ideation, and get more immediate help and be guided to additional resources.

The new three-digit national crisis line took five million calls in its first year of operation. Federal officials say that is up 35 percent compared to the old 10-digit line.

Since 2022, 988 has answered more than 665,000 text messages, a 1,135 percent increase from the 10-digit National Suicide Prevention Lifeline the year before 988 went live. The 10-digit line only added text messaging in 2020.

Rozanna Bracken, the director of the West Virginia 988 line, read some anonymous appreciation messages from people who have contacted 988 in West Virginia:

“I appreciate you, counselor. It may not seem like it, but you helped me to center myself. And I was simply trying to thank you and tell you that it’s apparent that you are a light in a very dark place for a lot of people.”

“Thank you for talking to me and taking time out of your day to speak to me. I hope you have an amazing rest of your week, and you’re the reason why many people are still here today.”

“Thank you, counselor. You probably hear this a lot, but you really helped me feel better about everything. I feel so much better. And it’s like I finally was able to let some stuff off my chest, you were a really big help with everything.”

“You really saved my life tonight; you are constantly saving lives and I honor you for that. I’m glad you saved mine.”

“If I need you guys ever again, I know where to find you. Go save more people, it must take a lot of strength to do what you do. Then again, I thank you.”

If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of harming themselves or others, they can text or call 988 at any time for help.

Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting with support from Charleston Area Medical Center and Marshall Health.