SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s easier-to-remember phone number — 988 — will go live Saturday, July 16.

Instead of calling 911, people considering suicide, are in a mental health crisis, or are under emotional distress should call 988. Dialing 988 will bring you to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a free 24/7 service.

Suicide Prevention in Springfield, MO

Missouri has higher rates of deaths due to intentional self-harm than the national average. Out of all the states, Missouri had the 16th-highest suicide death rate in 2020, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A list of Springfield mental health resource helplines can be found on the Springfield-Green County Health Department website. Those who need immediate help can visit the Burrell Behavior Crisis Center, which is located at 800 S. Park Ave., in Springfield. This crisis center is open at all hours, every day of the year.

The crisis center is only open to those 18 and up. Those below the age of 18 should visit Burrell’s main Springfield campus’s walk-in clinic at 1300 East Bradford Parkway during its open hours from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday.

A National Effort

“Giving the states a tool to prevent suicide and support people in crisis is essential to our HHS mission of protecting the health and wellbeing of everyone in our nation,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra in a press release.

Suicide rates increased by 30% between 2000 and 2018, but declined in 2019 and 2022, according to the CDC.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline was already in effect, but to reach it, people had to dial a 10-digit number: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The move to a three-digit phone number is an attempt to make the service more well-known and reachable, similar to 911.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a service from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), a subsection of the Department of Health and Human Services. The move to the 988 number is part of a $282 million investment to strengthen the service’s operations.