The new Suicide and Crisis Lifeline — 988 — is saving lives in Tennessee.

Implemented in July, this easy to remember number — 988 — helps connect people in crisis to mental health providers.

The number works by phone. It works with texts. And chats are available at

New data from the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services shows about 500 more calls each month from Tennesseans in crisis than were received at the old 10-digit phone number.

And, even with more calls, Tennessee’s crisis operators are meeting or exceeding national benchmarks for answer rate and time to answer. If the state call center does not answer quickly, the call rolls over to the national call center so that every call for help is answered.

These crisis resources are made possible through federal funding to help people experiencing a mental health crisis or thoughts of suicide.

These feelings can be caused by any number of things: feelings of depression, stress at work or school, disagreements with family, or substance abuse. These calls are answered by caring and compassionate professionals trained to assist people in crisis and with the resources available to make a real difference to someone who needs help.

“It’s never been easier to connect with mental health care in a crisis thanks to 988,” state Mental Health and Substance Abuse Commissioner Marie Williams said recently. “Our state has an amazing network of crisis services and community mental health providers, and 988 is unlocking the door to mental health help that so many people need right now.”

If you need help, know that help is available — call or text 988 or chat at

—Crossville Chronicle

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