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Department of Health Services

Behavioral Health Division

988 Lifeline

If you or someone you know needs support now, call or text 988 or chat

In 2020, Congress approved a new free crisis phone number for behavioral health crisis needs nationwide. Beginning July 16, 2022 instead of dialing 911, emergency calls can be placed to 988 for urgent help in a time of mental health, substance use crisis, or even witnessing another person experiencing a behavioral health challenge.

Locally, staff with Buckelew Programs, based in Novato, operate the Suicide Prevention Lifeline and will receive 988 calls, quickly evaluate the emergency, and utilize trained crisis counselors to provide an appropriate intervention. Urgent calls requiring an in-person mobile crisis response will be directed to clinical staff in the Marin County Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and its Behavioral Health and Recovery Services (BHRS) division.

Frequently Asked Quesitons

How is 988 different from 911?
988 was established to improve access to crisis services in a way that meets our country's growing suicide and mental health related crisis care needs. 988 will provide easier access to the Lifeline network and related crisis resources, which are distinct from 911 (where the focus is on dispatching Emergency Medical Services, fire and police as needed.

Is 988 available for substance use crisis?
The Lifeline accepts calls from anyone who needs support for a suicidal, mental health and /or substance use crisis.