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They took nearly 35,000 calls last year. Now, the new 988 suicide and crisis line is still helping.

Call centers around the country are bracing for more callers when 988 launches.
Posted at 4:14 PM, Sep 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-14 19:50:04-04

The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline — previously known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline — is a national network of more than 200 crisis centers that helps thousands of people overcome crisis situations every day.

As of July, all calls and text messages to “988” route to a 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline call center.

From July 2021 to the end of June, the line took about 35,000 calls in Tennessee, resulting in a weekly average of about 700 calls.

The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse said call volume has mostly returned to where it was prior to launch.

Metro Nashville Police Department officials tweeted back in July that Nashville was seeing a 38% increase so far this year of death by suicide compared to last year.

"Someone who's always available for you 24/7, you don't have to fight any fight alone," said Greg Bennett.

Bennett knows what it's like to feel like you lost all control.

"When I was younger, I just lived life without consequence, and it was a lot of drugs and alcohol, and really thought I was invincible until I completely lost everything."

He says he lost his home, visitation of his son, friends and was ready to lose his life.

"I became very suicidal. It's all I thought about all day long. You know, again, when I got to the point of you know, I'm either going to do it or do something about it. You know, and the person I spoke to said you can get busy living or get busy dying and I said, 'OK, well we'll try the living thing."

When anyone dials 988, it's a person like Bennett on the other end of the call or text.

He is team lead over crisis services for Centerstone, which offers mental health services in Tennessee and other states.

"With 988, anytime you text or call that number, someone's going to answer," said Bennett.

To learn more, visit https://www.fcc.gov/988Lifeline.