The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has added American Sign Language support to its 988 Suicide and Crisis Hotline, to better serve those who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Users who want to reach the hotline's ASL services can click on the "ASL Now" button on 988lifeline.org, or call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) from a videophone. In the next few weeks, direct 988 dialing will be made available from videophones.
The lifeline was designated in 2020 as a universal national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline.
The lifeline, which has already received more than 5.5 million calls, texts and other messages, will now do more to serve the millions of Americans who use ASL.
"This new service is one more critical step towards making mental health support more accessible and inclusive for all," said Miriam E. Delphin-Rittmon, Ph.D., HHS assistant secretary for mental health and substance use and the leader of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
"The addition of American Sign Language services to the 988 Lifeline is another important step toward our goal of ensuring that all Americans – regardless of disability or age – can get the health care and supportive services they need to thrive," said Alison Barkoff, who leads the U.S. Administration for Community Living.
In 2021, a SAMHSA survey found 4.8% of adults 18 or older had serious thoughts of suicide. Rates were higher among adolescents, among whom 12.7% of those aged 12 to 17 had serious thoughts of suicide.
If you need to talk to someone, call the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988 or text "HOME" to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.
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