988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline: Messaging and Communications to People at Higher Risk for or Disproportionately Impacted by Suicide

Nov 08, 2023
  • Description

Since July 2022, 988 has been the national 3-digit hotline for mental health resources and suicide prevention. Though 988 responded to 5 million contacts in its first year, we must increase awareness and use of this valuable resource.

With the nationwide transition to 988, a need arose for 988-specific formative research among groups at higher risk for or disproportionately impacted by suicide to help support culturally sensitive, responsive, effective, and successful 988 communications: First, to make more people aware of 988 across the country, then to promote overall help seeking, and instill trust and confidence in the service.

The 988 Formative Research Project fills a critical research gap and supports more informed 988 messaging and implementation efforts. The project was conducted to:

  • Uncover knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and perceptions about accessing crisis services among populations at higher risk for or disproportionately impacted by suicide.
  • Identify and explore barriers and motivators to accessing crisis services among these populations.
  • Inform culturally sensitive, responsive, and effective messaging development to help individuals access 988 in times of crisis.
  • Identify "trusted messengers" that population groups turn to when facing difficult mental health challenges.