988 offers 24/7 access to trained crisis counselors who can help people experiencing mental health-related distress. That could be:

  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Mental health or substance use crisis
  • Any other kind of emotional distress

People can call or text 988 or chat 988lifeline.org for themselves or if they are worried about a loved one who may need crisis support.

988 serves as a universal entry point so that no matter where you live in the United States, you can reach a trained crisis counselor who can help.

When to call 988?

  • Suicidal thoughts and actions
  • Mental health or personal crisis
  • Assistance navigating all levels of crisis care
  • Needs related to accessing resources or supports
  • Substance use or related concerns

When to call 911?

  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Hazardous chemical spills
  • Life threatening situation or injuries’ requiring medical attention
  • Someone is hurting themselves, others, or someone is hurt and needs help
  • Someone stealing or breaking and entering
  • Signs of fire or sounding alarms such as carbon monoxide


The ideal crisis system would include 24/7/365 local crisis contact centers, statewide locally operated mobile response teams (MRT), and crisis stabilization programs.

The availability of Mobile Response Teams vary by area. 988 counselors will work to connect callers to MRT’s where available.

Reach out to your local Community Mental Health Center to inquire about the availability of MRT


Common questions about what happens when you call, text, or chat 988 answered by Meg Hasselman, LMSW; Erica Molde, LMSW; and Jared Auten LMSW.

Common 988 Questions

What is 988 and how will it work?

988 phone calls are routed by the caller’s area-code to a near-by, local crisis call center. The people of Kansas are served by four, 988 crisis call centers which are COMCARE of Sedgwick County, Johnson County Mental Health Center, Healthsource Integrated Solutions and Kansas Suicide Prevention HQ. All 988 crisis call centers strive to provide quality services aligned to best-practice, clinical recommendations approved by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Crisis call centers also undergo an accreditation process, which evaluates the quality of their training programs and service delivery.

When should I call 988?

Anyone in need of mental health or crisis support  for themselves or someone else should call 988. When a person calls or texts 988, they can expect a local counselor to immediately begin providing crisis counseling. Current Suicide and Crisis Lifeline call data shows that the majority of callers are able to receive the help they need over the phone; thereby reducing the need for an in-person crisis response. 

Mental health emergencies are different from police, fire, or other medical emergencies. That’s why the response from 988 crisis counselors is different than the response from 911. The Lifeline is designed to serve the person right where they are, without the need for an in-person response. And when in-person support is needed, then those types of interventions are made available in as timely a manner as possible.

Anyone experiencing a life threatening emergency should call 911 for assistance.

KSPHQ needs your help raising awareness about this critical need!
  • Click here to find your legislator so you can advocate for sustained funding for 988.
  • Donate
  • Help educate friends, family, and community members. See FAQ’s.
  • Request an informational session
  • Sign up with NAMI Kansas and the Greater Kansas Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to receive legislative advocacy training for talking about 9-8-8 and other important mental health related policies

More information is available through these resources:

Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

FCC Fact Sheet, Implementation of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Improvement Act of 2018

Report on the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Improvement Act of 2018

FCC unanimously approves 988 requiring all phone carriers to update by July 16, 2022.

National Suicide Hotline Designation Act (988) signed into law, October 19, 202

HB 2281 LIVES Act under consideration in the Kansas Legislature, February 17, 2021