988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline

The National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255 is transitioning to o 988 in July, the original Lifeline phone number will always remain available to people in emotional distress or suicidal crisis. Johnson County Mental Health Center’s 24/7 crisis line continues to be available to our clients and community. Help is available day or night by calling 913-268-0156.

In 2020, Congress designated a new three-digit dialing code – 988 – that will route callers experiencing a mental health or substance use crisis to the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL). This triumph was the outcome of many years of activism by the mental health community for the creation of an easy-to-remember telephone number that would increase the accessibility of the Lifeline and crisis services.

When will 988 be available?

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline transitions to 988 on Saturday, July 16, 2022.

How are 988 calls routed?

988 will route calls to the existing Lifeline network and provide a connection to local support and services for those who experience a mental health or substance use crisis. Now known as the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, the Lifeline network has over 200 local crisis centers across the United States, including Johnson County Mental Health Center.

  • Calls to 988 will be directed to a local call center based on the caller’s area code.
  • Johnson County Mental Health Center receives 988 calls from Johnson County phone numbers.
  • In addition to JCMHC, Kansas has two additional 988 call centers: ComCare in Wichita and Kansas Suicide Prevention HQ in Lawrence. More local call centers are expected.

What happens when you call 988?

When you call 988 and connect with a local call center, trained mental health professionals are available 24/7 to provide support, listen, and provide guidance on next steps to keep yourself and others safe.

  • Support provided may include empathetic listening, coping skills, natural supports, or referrals to community services.
  • If on-site support is needed, mobile crisis responders or 911 first responders may be activated.

988 is not a replacement for 911. If there’s a life-threatening emergency that requires police, fire, or EMS response, or if someone is an immediate danger to themselves or others, please call 911.

How has JCMHC prepared for 988?

Johnson County Mental Health Center has had a local crisis line with trained mental health professionals providing around-the-clock support to the community for over three decades. In 2021, JCMHC joined the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline network and began answering local calls to Lifeline, 1-800-273-TALK. Answering these calls served as a preliminary step to providing coverage for future 988 calls.

Additionally, thorough state funding for the transition to 988 empowered JCMHC to create a dedicated 988/Crisis Line Team. This team initially comprised 10 crisis call specialists and 2 licensed clinicians. We've since expanded it to 14 full-time crisis line specialists supported by 16 additional staff members.

In December 2023, we embarked on another impactful step in our commitment to mental health support and crisis response: the co-location of our 988 team with the county's 911 dispatchers at the County Communications Center. This collaboration signifies a shared commitment to providing the right service at the right time, especially for 911 calls where a mental health response is crucial.

By sharing physical space, our 911 dispatchers and mental health professionals can collaborate closely on calls to 911, 988, and our local crisis line, streamlining communication and ensuring immediate access to assistance for those in crisis.

What happens to the JCMHC 24/7 Crisis Line?

Johnson County Mental Health Center’s 24/7 crisis line will continue to be available to our clients and community. Help is available day or night by calling 913-268-0156.

The original National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number, 1-800-273-TALK or 1-800-273-8255, will also remain available for those in emotional distress or suicidal crisis.