Summer Launch of New 988 Suicide Prevention Hotline

Since its inception, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline has been a lifesaver for many people experiencing a mental health crisis. Starting this week, calling the suicide hotline will be even easier with the implementation of a three-digit number, 9-8-8. 1

Suicide Prevention Hotline

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which operates under the Department of Health and Human Services, began providing a 24/7 national hotline number in 2005.1 This hotline allowed people to call 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) anytime and receive confidential help.1 People in distress can call or text the hotline and receive help from someone on the other end.

In 2018, Congress and the president signed the National Suicide Hotline Improvement Act into law.2 This act called upon SAMHSA and the VA to research how effective the hotline was and report back to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).2 They reported that a new three-digit suicide hotline number would be effective in helping people in distress. Consequently, Congress enacted the new 9-8-8 number for suicide prevention.2 The rollout would occur in 2 phases:2

  1. All landlines, cell phone lines, and voice-over-internet devices will be equipped to reach the proper connection when dialing 9-8-8 by July 16, 2022.
  2. All states must implement this new phone number.

Suicide Warning Signs

Understanding the suicide warning signs is vital so that people can get help for themselves or their loved ones if necessary. Some of these warning signs include:3

  • Talking about wanting to die or having suicidal thoughts.
  • Talking about wanting to kill oneself.
  • Talking about being a burden to other people.
  • Using alcohol and drugs.
  • Researching ways to commit suicide online.
  • Behaving in an unusual way, such as being more anxious, agitated, or reckless.
  • Not sleeping properly. Either not getting enough sleep or sleeping too much.
  • Experiencing erratic mood swings.
  • Withdrawing from friends and family.

If you notice your loved one having any of these signs, or you think they may be experiencing suicidal thoughts or urges, take time to talk to them and encourage them to call the crisis hotline. If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, call the hotline today.

Addiction and Suicide

In 2020, 45,979 people died because of suicide in the U.S.4 In addition, 12 million more people gave it serious consideration.4 Some groups of people are at higher risk of suicide and suicide attempts than others. People with mental health disorders, including substance use disorders, are in the higher risk group.4

People who take opioids and then overdose may be attempting to die by suicide.5 With the absence of a suicide note or some other prior intention, it is difficult to know for sure if there is a connection.5 However, research estimates that up to 30% of opioid overdoses may be suicide attempts.5

Additionally, people who misuse prescription opioids are 40%–60 % more likely to have suicidal thoughts.5

Alcohol dependency is another risk factor for suicide. One set of studies revealed that people who were heavy drinkers had a five-fold higher risk of suicide than social drinkers.6

Mental Health and Suicide

Living with untreated mental health disorders puts people at risk for suicide.6 Some of these mental illnesses include:6

  • Depression.
  • Anxiety
  • Psychosis.
  • Trauma-related disorders, such as PTSD.
  • Personality disorder.

Rehab for Drug & Alcohol Addiction in RI & MA

When a person has co-occurring substance use disorder and mental health disorder, they are at a substantially higher risk of suicide.6 If you or a loved one is struggling with an untreated mental health condition or substance misuse disorder, and looking for rehab near Rhode Island or Massachusetts, AdCare Treatment Center can help. Reach out for more information today and start your recovery .

Was this page helpful?
Thank you for your feedback.

American Addiction Centers (AAC) is committed to delivering original, truthful, accurate, unbiased, and medically current information. We strive to create content that is clear, concise, and easy to understand.

Read our full editorial policy

While we are unable to respond to your feedback directly, we'll use this information to improve our online help.

You aren't alone. You deserve to get help.
AdCare has multiple locations throughout Massachusetts and Rhode Island, making it easily accessible to most parts of New England. We offer an integrated system of care and have been helping individuals and families struggling with addiction for 45 years. Take the next step toward recovery: learn more about our addiction treatment programs in MA and RI or learn about how rehab is affordable for everyone.