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Lifeline: The 988 Podcast

Learn all about 988, the new national suicide and crisis lifeline launched by the U.S. government in July 2022, in this nine-part limited series podcast. The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline (formerly known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline) offers 24/7 call, text, and chat access to trained crisis counselors who can help people experiencing a suicidal, substance use, or mental health crisis, or any other kind of emotional distress. People can also contact 988 if they are worried about a loved one who may need crisis support. The 988 Lifeline is overseen by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Join John Snook, JD, Chief Policy Officer at the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute, and Shannon Scully, Senior Advisor for Justice and Crisis Response Policy at NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, as they discuss 988 in conversation with podcast host Ron LeGrand, Policy Director at the National Criminal Justice Association.

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­­Episode 1: What's 988?

Shannon Scully of NAMI, John Snook of Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute, and Ron LeGrand of the National Criminal Justice Association discuss the new 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline: what it is, what it does, and – most importantly – what we can expect in the future.

­­Episode 2: Calling 988

How does 988 actually work? What will happen when I call or text 988? Will my information be confidential? Our hosts walk through a real-life scenario to help us answer those and other commonly asked questions.

­­Episode 3: 7/16/22

July 16, 2022, marked the date in which 988 “went live,” allowing people across the nation to dial or text 988 to seek assistance for mental-health-related distress. Our hosts talk about what changed, what still needs to take place, and what communities across the country are doing to ensure 988’s success.

­­Episode 4: The Police and 988

Too often, law enforcement officers are forced to serve as mental health first responders – even as evidence tells us that many crisis calls do not require law enforcement intervention. How does 988 address this concern? What does an alternative response system look like? Our hosts discuss those issues and the three pillars of the crisis continuum of care: 1) Someone to talk to, 2) someone to respond, and 3) somewhere to go.

­­Episode 5: 911 or 988?

Many listeners may be asking – why did we need a new number beyond 911? Isn’t this what 911 is set up to do? Join our hosts as they discuss how 988 differs from 911, what the goal of each system is, and how the two systems work together.

­­Episode 6: Community Support and 988

Is my community ready for 988? This episode explores the two key components of that ask: what resources are necessary to effectively implement 988 and what resources are available to assist communities with that process?

­­Episode 7: Federal Funding for 988

The federal government has invested in a host of resources to help state and local governments implement both the 988 crisis line and the crisis continuum of care to support it. But what are those resources and how can your community take advantage of them? In episode 7 our hosts walk through the unprecedented levels of funding for crisis response from the federal government and the steps your community can take to access them.

­­Episode 8: State Funding for 988

States across the nation are investing in resources to support the implementation of 988. This episode touches on the numerous innovative ways that states are ensuring resources for 988 are available in their communities. Interested in learning even more? Visit, which provides state level tracking of resources, best practices, and state legislation focused on 988 implementation.

­­Episode 9: What's Next for 988?

A podcast can’t possibly hope to cover every aspect of 988. Where does a listener go to find out more? This episode walks through resources at the state, federal and local levels that provide a deep dive into all aspects of 988, from financing to call-response decision trees and more!

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