On Saturday, July 16th, New Hampshire will join states across the country in adopting 988, the new three-digit dialing, texting, and chat code for people experiencing a suicidal, mental health, or substance misuse-related crisis.
The addition of 988 will augment the State’s current crisis services landscape, providing an easy-to-remember number that will route callers to the national network of more than 200 call centers through the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
“New Hampshire remains committed to providing streamlined access to mental health support services and providing on-demand assistance through 988 is another positive step in that direction,” said Governor Chris Sununu.
“The implementation of 988 in New Hampshire gives people who need mental health support one more way to access immediate assistance,” said DHHS Commissioner Lori Shibinette. “As we continue to focus on implementing the priorities of the state’s 10-year Mental Health Plan, 988 aligns well with our goal of amplifying our efforts around suicide prevention and creating a mental health crisis system that is responsive, accessible, and coordinated, in order to reduce the number of deaths by suicide in our state.”
The option to call 988 will not replace the Department’s current crisis services, New Hampshire Rapid Response, which became effective on January 1, 2022. New Hampshire Rapid Response continues to provide mental health crisis services via phone, text, and chat for children, teens, and adults in New Hampshire who may be experiencing a mental health or substance misuse crisis. New Hampshire Rapid Response is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and can deploy mobile crisis teams to meet people with more intensive needs, right in their communities. As of May 2022, mobile crisis teams have been deployed 2,840 times.
988 is an addition to other 3-digit response systems such as 911 and 211. It is designed as a national model specifically to create an alternative to 911 for behavioral health crises that do not require a law enforcement or emergency services response. As a national system, 988 routes calls by area code, which means that a caller from an area code outside of New Hampshire will reach a call center in their area code’s corresponding state. 211 will remain a non-emergency number to connect with community resources and The Doorway, New Hampshire’s substance misuse access point.
Over the past several years, the Department has made critical investments to strengthen New Hampshire’s mental health system, including the Children’s System of Care, increasing capacity for inpatient treatment, and building more community-based services to ensure that children, teens, and adults have access to the behavioral health supports they need, when they need them.
For more information on 988, visit www.dhhs.nh.gov/programs-services/health-care/behavioral-health.