988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline sees increase in calls after July launch

The three number crisis line officially launched July 16

Virginia leaders are still working to improve the 988 suicide hotline, two months after the nationwide launch

ROANOKE, Va. – Virginia leaders are still working to improve the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, two months after the nationwide launch.

The Commonwealth saw a 53% increase in calls during the month of July.

Despite concerns about staffing, they were able to handle the influx without a problem.

There was a backup system in place, but so far they have not had to transfer a lot of callers to out-of-state call centers.

“Our goal is to get 100% in state answer rate for Virginia, and we think that we’re going to be able to achieve that with some increased funding that went to the call centers, some increased calling in the call centers,” Active Assistant Commissioner of Crisis Services for Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services Bill Howard said. “We’re also working with SAMSA to better improve the call center experience for the worker.”

They said their focus will now shift to working on amping up the 988 text service for those in crisis.

Find more resources for suicide awareness here.

You can reach the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by calling 988, or through chat here.

About the Author:

Abbie Coleman officially joined the WSLS 10 News team in January 2023.