988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline Starts July 16

Beginning July 16, calling 9-8-8 will be the new way to connect to a local behavioral health crisis call specialist. Dialing 988 will connect directly to the National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, which replaces the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255).  All contacts with 988 (calls, chats, and texts) remain free of charge.

When someone in Maryland calls 988, the call will be routed based on the caller’s area code. Calls routed to Maryland will be answered by one of eight call centers that provide phone-based support and information on local resources.  Maryland’s crisis hotline (call 211, press 1) will remain in operation throughout the transition period and beyond. 

Starting July 16, 2022, when calling 988, callers will hear a greeting message while their call is routed to a Lifeline network crisis call center (based on the caller’s area code).

  • A trained crisis counselor will answer, listen to the caller, understand how their problem is affecting them, provide support, and provide resources and interventions as needed.
  • If a Maryland crisis center is unavailable, the caller will be automatically routed to a national backup crisis center.
  • The Lifeline provides live crisis center phone services in English and Spanish and uses Language Line Solutions to provide translation services in over 150 additional languages for people who call 988.
  • Veterans can access the Veterans Crisis Line by calling 988 and pressing 1.
  • Texts and chats to 988 will also be routed to a Lifeline network crisis call center based on area code and a response will be given by a call center staff person.

Until July 16, please continue to call 211 and press 1 in Maryland or the Lifeline at its current number (1-800-273-8255).

 Learn more.