A new, easier to remember hotline for people experiencing mental health struggles launches

Suicide hotline sign on the Vista Bridge in Portland.

988 has replaced the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. The hope is that the three digit number will be easier to remember and use when it’s needed.

Michael Clapp / OPB

For anyone experiencing a mental health crisis, looking for addiction resources or just wanting to talk to someone after a bad day, there’s a new number you can call: 988.

Launched in mid-July, the three-digit number has replaced the 10-digit National Suicide Prevention Hotline.

Greg Borders is the chief clinical officer for Lines for Life, the Portland nonprofit which is responding to most of the calls made to the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.

He says since its launch, there’s been a sharp increase in the number of calls received.

“On average, before July 16, we were getting 83 phone calls a day,” he said. “Now we’re seeing an average of about 128, that’s a 47% increase.”

Borders says 9-8-8 is easier to remember and therefore will make getting access to resources and care easier. He also said that this line isn’t just for anyone having a crisis, but for anyone who is struggling with their mental health or looking for resources.

“We’re working hard to destigmatize reaching out for help,” he said.

Lines for Life received state funding to hire more staff to respond to calls and to now offer its services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to clients via text.

Greg Borders spoke to “Think Out Loud” host Dave Miller about the change and what it means for the state. Click play to listen to the full conversation:

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