988 crisis line reaches 1 year anniversary

(ABC 6 News) – Sunday marked the one-year anniversary of the 988 suicide and crisis lifeline and it has made a major difference in its first year.

Since switching from the old ten-digit number, the launch of the 988 crisis line through May of this year, has had more than 4.5 million contacts across the nation.

These include calls, chats, and texts.

Experts are grateful that people are utilizing this life-saving resource.

“The first thing that we like to hear is that it’s easy to get access to it and that when they call, someone picks up the phone and is there to answer them,” PrairieCare psychiatrist Dr. Chad Puffer said.

Alongside the hotlines success, there were also some challenges.

One of them was keeping up with the sheer demand of calls and making sure there were enough people to answer the phone.

Psychologist, Dr. Chad Puffer, works with patients who used the hotline, and they say it’s a valuable resource.

“Having as many options as possible to help you to get a different perspective or to just feel cared about or cared for is really important,” said Puffer.

During Minnesota’s legislative session, lawmakers approved a telecom fee to fund 988.

It will begin in 2024 and the fee will be capped at 25 cents per month for both landline and cell phones.