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Crisis Services: 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline

 

The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is here and ready to help.

The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline provides free and confidential support for anyone experiencing a suicidal, mental health, and/or substance use crisis.

People of all ages who need help for themselves or a loved one can:

About the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline in Wisconsin

  • Wisconsinites who use the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline in Wisconsin will connect with Wisconsin Lifeline, an in-state support center where trained counselors answer calls and texts to 988, as well as chats from the 988lifeline.org.
  • Wisconsin Lifeline counselors are trained to reduce stress, provide emotional support, and connect people with local resources.
  • Use of the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is available at no cost to Wisconsin residents. Additional care or intervention that may result from contact with the Wisconsin Lifeline may come with a cost.
  • Wisconsin Lifeline is not able to send an in-person response directly. An in-person response requires a transfer to another service and could involve law enforcement.
  • Calls, texts, and chats with Wisconsin Lifeline are kept confidential between the person and counselor, unless there is imminent danger for the person or others.

About Wisconsin Lifeline

  • Wisconsin Lifeline is Wisconsin’s 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline service, answering calls, texts, and chats that come from residents throughout the state.
  • It is operated by Family Services of Northeast Wisconsin, an agency based in Green Bay that serves all of Wisconsin with its 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline support center.
  • The counselors at Wisconsin Lifeline are trained to listen and support people through their distress with a focus on de-escalation and coping skills.
  • Wisconsin Lifeline has some bilingual counselors and staff. Third party interpreters for over 90 languages are available 24/7.
  • Wisconsin Lifeline answers and responds to calls, texts, and chats as quickly as possible to minimize wait times between initial contact and counseling.
  • Wisconsin Lifeline is supported and funded by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.
  • After two years of planning, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and the Wisconsin Lifeline are prepared to manage the statewide 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline service.

What happens when you contact the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline?

Person seeking support

Person calls or texts 988 or chats via 988lifeline.org.

Person receives automated response with options for veterans, LGBTQ+ people, and Spanish speakers.

Person is connected to a counselor.

Most common experience: 90% of calls/texts/chats

Person receives support, de-escalation assistance from a crisis, learns new coping skills, acquires local referrals, and may receive a follow-up call.

High concern of imminent risk to self or others

Person will receive a required wellness check from law enforcement.

Imminent risk of serious harm to self or others

Person will receive a required emergency law enforcement and medical response.

If you or someone you know is in imminent danger, call 911, not 988.

 

Below is a video that explains what happens when you contact the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.

Mira este video en Español

 

Frequently asked questions

There are many questions about 988 and how it works. Below are answers to the most common questions. For answers to more questions, visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's 988 Frequently Asked Questions webpage.

The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline greeting states that calls may be monitored or recorded for quality assurance purposes. Additionally, support centers in the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline network may independently use call recordings for training purposes, dependent on the best practices of the support center.

It’s also important to note that people contacting the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline are not required to provide any personal data to receive services. 

People contacting the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline are not required to provide any personal data to receive services. 

Any effort to obtain demographic information from those who use the service serves three primary purposes:

  • To save lives.
  • To connect people to ongoing supports.
  • To evaluate system needs and performance, particularly ensuring that gaps and inequities are being addressed.

The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline was established to improve access to crisis services in a way that meets our country’s growing suicide and mental health-related crisis care needs. It will provide easier access to behavioral health crisis resources, which are distinct from the public safety purposes of 911 (where the focus is on dispatching emergency medical services, fire, and police as needed).

The primary goal of the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is to provide support for people in suicidal crisis, mental health-related distress, and/or substance use-related distress in the moments they most need it and in a manner which is person-centered. The vast majority of those seeking help from the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline do not require any additional interventions at that moment. Currently, fewer than 2% of contacts require connection to emergency services like 911. While some safety and health issues may warrant a response from law enforcement and/or emergency medical services (namely when a suicide attempt is in progress), the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline coordinated response is intended to promote stabilization and care in the least restrictive manner.

FACT SHEET: Why might the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline utilize any sort of intervention that may involve police? (PDF)

All 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline support centers adhere to the same imminent risk policy, which means that staff work through active engagement to provide support and assistance for people at risk in the least restrictive setting possible. In fact, most contacts are resolved by staff by chat or phone in a manner that does not require additional immediate intervention.

The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline serves TTY users either through their preferred relay service or by calling 711 then 1-800-273-8255. Services are also available through chat and text. Work is underway to expand to video phone service to better serve deaf or hard of hearing individuals seeking help through the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.

The federal government and the national administrator of the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline are working  to ensure this critical functionality is enabled as quickly as possible. Right now, people who speak Spanish and other languages should call 988 to reach a counselor who can speak with them in their native language. 

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services and Wisconsin Lifeline are planning for a statewide campaign to advertise and promote awareness of 988 to the public. The campaign is expected to launch in early 2023.

Partner toolkit

Please use these materials to ensure there is a clear understanding about what the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is and how it works.

Fact sheet

988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline - 24/7 Call, Text, Chat (English and Spanish)

Social media posts

Promote the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline on social media. Use the text and graphics below. 

Instructions

  1. Tap the image to open it.
  2. Save the image to your device.
  3. Upload the image to your Facebook page or Twitter feed.
  4. Use the text above the image to complete the post.

Facebook

If you or someone you know needs support now, call or text 988 or chat 988Lifeline.org. 988 connects you with a trained crisis counselor who can help. #988Lifeline #WisconsinLifeline

Simply calling or texting 988 or chatting 988Lifeline.org will connect you to compassionate care and support for stressful situations. #988Lifeline #WisconsinLifeline

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of #suicide or experiencing a mental health or substance use crisis, 988 provides 24/7 connection to confidential #support. There is hope. Just call or text 988 or chat 988lifeline.org. #988Lifeline #WisconsinLifeline

Twitter

If you or someone you know needs support now, call or text 988 or chat 988Lifeline.org. 988 connects you with a trained crisis counselor who can help. #988Lifeline #WisconsinLifeline

Simply calling or texting 988 or chatting 988Lifeline.org will connect you to compassionate care and support for stressful situations. #988Lifeline #WisconsinLifeline

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of #suicide or experiencing a mental health or substance use crisis, 988 provides 24/7 connection to confidential #support. There is hope. Just call or text 988 or chat 988lifeline.org. #988Lifeline #WisconsinLifeline

Radio advertisement/public service announcement

:30 script 

The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is here and ready to help. Anyone can call or text 988 or chat via 988wisconsin.org to get connected to a trained lifeline counselor. Counselors are here to support anyone experiencing a suicidal, mental health, or substance use crisis. You can also contact 988 if you're concerned about someone. 988 is confidential and free to all Wisconsin residents. 988, 24/7 call, text, chat. Here to support you. Brought to you by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. 

:30 produced ad (English only)

Listen or download it now


More promotional materials are being developed. They will be posted here when they are available. 

Fact sheet

Why might the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline utilize any sort of intervention that may involve police? 

Promotional items

The following items are available through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's website:

  • 988 logo and brand guidelines
  • End cards for the media
  • E-newsletter template
  • Magnets
  • Posters
  • Presentation slide deck
  • Radio PSA scripts
  • Safety plan pads
  • Social media shareables
  • Virtual meeting backgrounds
  • Wallet cards

Wisconsin's 988 Planning Coalition

We convened a coalition in 2021 to help plan for 988 in Wisconsin. This coalition includes representatives from county and municipal agencies focused on behavioral health, law enforcement, and emergency services; providers of behavioral health services; and people who have experienced behavioral health crisis situations. This group meets periodically to discuss challenges and opportunities integrating the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline into Wisconsin’s behavioral health care system.

Monthly performance data

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration publishes monthly performance reports for the national network of 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline support centers. View the data.

Last revised January 16, 2023