Call/Text 988

988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline FAQ

What is 988?

988 is the new, easy-to-remember number to reach the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which has changed names to the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. 

When does 988 launch?

988 launched nationwide on Saturday, July 16th. 

Where are 988 calls answered?

988 calls are be answered by local centers based on the caller’s area code. Contacts in Iowa will be directed to one of two local centers, CommUnity Crisis Services in Iowa City or Foundation2 in Cedar Rapids. If volume does not allow for contacts to be answered locally, all contacts will still be answered.

Can you text 988?

Yes. When you text 988, you will be connected to a crisis counselor who will listen to you, provide support, and share resources that may be helpful. Texting is currently only available in English. 

Is this service free?

Yes. The Lifeline is available 24/7/365 and completely free.

Is 988 only for those experiencing thoughts of suicide?

The Lifeline is available 24/7 for calls, chats, and texts from anyone experiencing thoughts of suicide, a mental health crisis, or a substance use crisis.

How is 988 different from 911?

988 provides low-barrier access to the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline and related crisis resources, whereas 911 focuses on dispatching EMS, fire, and police as needed. Offering a low-barrier, three-digit number is expected to increase calls to the lifeline and divert calls from other emergency services. Connecting people to the appropriate emergency service in their time of crisis helps the individual get what they need as soon as possible, as well as helping all emergency services operate smoothly.

Will 988 dispatch counselors to me?

80% of 988 contacts can be de-escalated during the initial contact, but if the situation cannot be handled over phone, chat, or text, the counselor can connect the individual in crisis to local resources, such as CommUnity’s Mobile Crisis Response in Johnson and Iowa Counties.

What languages will these services be available in?

The Lifeline currently provides live crisis center calling services in English and Spanish and uses Language Line Solutions to provide translation services in over 250 additional languages. Text and chat are currently available in English only.

How do I contact the Lifeline?

Simply dial 988 to call or text a counselor. Go to to be connected via online chat.