New 3-digit suicide, self-harm hotline 988 launches on Saturday

Three numbers make up a number that could save thousands of lives. On Saturday, a brand new suicide hotline number is launching tomorrow at 9-8-8.
Published: Jul. 15, 2022 at 9:28 AM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Three numbers could help save thousands of lives and on Saturday, a brand-new suicide hotline number is launching: 988.

Ben Smith, CEO and founder of Gnosis IQ in Chandler, says that there will be many benefits to having such a shortened number for people to call to get help. “The pandemic did play a toll on people,” Smith said. “One of the benefits of switching to a three-digit number is that it’s easy to remember. Everyone remembers 911; 988 is something that we need to ingrain in everyone’s head because at some level, someone is dealing with or knows someone that’s dealing with some turmoil that they’ll need help with.”

Smith says that the people you can expect to listen to you on the other side of the phone are well-trained individuals who are ready to hear whatever you need to get off of your chest.

“A lot of people, sometimes they’ll listen to what’s going on and they’ll try to solve the problem,” he said. “That’s not always what’s needed. Police aren’t psychologists, they’re not trained to handle suicide and emotional distress.”