CARSON CITY — Compassionate, accessible care will be available to Nevadans statewide by dialing an easy to remember three-digit number starting Saturday, July 16th. 

The Nevada Department of Health and Human Services is transitioning to 988, a behavioral health and crisis phone number, to ensure help is available for those in need. The new three-digit number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline will replace the current phone number. During this transition both numbers will be available for use. 

For almost a decade, mental health advocates have asked for an easy to remember three-digit number for people experiencing a mental health crisis. Fueled by this advocacy, the federal government and the Federal Communications Commission did extensive research into the possibility for that number. From that, the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act was passed in October of 2020, which required the existing ten-digit national number to be converted to 988. Starting this Saturday, nationally and in Nevada, that call-line will go live.  

“Access to behavioral health and crisis support has never been more critical,” said Dr. Stephanie Woodard, DHHS Senior Advisor on Behavioral Health. “988 is part of a larger picture we’re creating to address crisis response services. It will provide a simple tool to address the complex issue of mental health.” 

All behavioral health crisis calls through 988 will continue to be routed to national suicide prevention lifeline call centers, including Crisis Support Services of Nevada (CSS-NV), which has been the Silver State’s statewide call center since the 1960’s. To prepare for the transition to 988, CSS-NV has increased their staff, all of whom are highly trained in assisting with a range of different mental health crises for all age demographics. They have also continued to participate in the national lifeline network, which means no call, text, or chat in Nevada will go unanswered.  

“The 988 line will allow Nevadans in a behavioral health crisis to much more easily access vital crisis intervention services as they won’t have to find and call the appropriate 10-digit phone number,” said Rachelle Pellissier, Executive Director of Crisis Support Services of Nevada. “For too long, our system for behavioral health crisis services has been underfunded and undervalued. The implementation of 988 will allow Nevada to meet this challenge with the evidence-based crisis intervention and care system and provide the immediate behavioral health services that Nevadan’s need and deserve.” 

In 2021, Nevada’s Lifeline Center (NLC) received just under 31,000 contacts from residents who were experiencing either a behavioral health crisis or thoughts of suicide. Between 2020 and 2021, NLC reported a 42% increase in contacts, and that number is expected to continue to increase. By the end of 2024, the 988 Crisis Call Center is expected to receive nearly 100,000 contacts annually. 

Nevada will continue to use federal funding through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and American Rescue Plan funding allocated by Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak to build out a high-tech crisis call center, as well as a dispatch center, as part of a continuing investment in Nevadans’ mental health.