New 988 Lifeline sees major uptick in calls — but concerns remain | NAMI

New 988 Lifeline sees major uptick in calls — but concerns remain

Posted on September 28, 2022

In August, there was a 45% increase of people contacting the 988 lifeline compared to August 2021 with more than 361,000 calls, texts and chats. According to HHS data, answer rates and wait times improved with 88% of calls, chats and texts getting through this August, compared to 67% in August 2021. Less than 2% of lifeline calls have led to the involvement of emergency services. But when police do get involved in mental health crisis situations, the results can be catastrophic. Hannah Wesolowski, NAMI CAO said that police can rapidly escalate a situation when a person is in the midst of a mental health crisis. "Somebody in crisis may not be able to understand or react to commands that law enforcement may be issuing," Wesolowski said. "This could be misread by law enforcement officers who don't have the same training a mobile crisis team may have." Wesolowski said many people involved with NAMI have used the 988 Lifeline and have expressed relief they got through to crisis counselors quickly and received help. "988 is one part of this process and an entry point, but we need more crisis response," Wesolowski said.


NAMI HelpLine is available M-F, 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. ET. Call 800-950-6264,
text “helpline” to 62640, or chat online. In a crisis, call or text 988 (24/7).