Dartmouth student ID cards will soon feature a new number: 988, the phone number of the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. For existing IDs, stickers with the number will be available throughout campus.
The Federal Communications Commission launched 988 as a three-digit number in July, replacing an older, 10-digit National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number. By calling or texting 988 or using the online chat at 988.lifeline.org, anyone in the United States can receive confidential help from a trained counselor during a mental health, substance use, or suicide crisis, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Some examples of crises the lifeline is designed to assist with:
- Thoughts and/or plans to hurt yourself or someone else
- Engaging in a behavior that is life threatening
- If you have been physically or sexually assaulted
“Adding the 988 lifeline number to student IDs is a best practice for suicide prevention and a high-priority recommendation from the Jed Foundation,” says Mark Reed, director of the Dartmouth Health Service, referring to Dartmouth’s ongoing partnership with the JED Campus Program, which works to protect the emotional health of young adults. “The stickers are one way to help ensure that everyone in the Dartmouth community knows how to access immediate help when they are in acute distress.”
The number can be used anywhere in the United States. Calls to 988 are directed to the nearest crisis center based on the caller’s area code and can easily be transferred to a caller’s local area.
The state of New Hampshire also recommends that colleges and other institutions disseminate the 988 number as a best practice for suicide prevention. According to the N.H. Department of Health and Human Services, less than 2% of calls to the lifeline result in an in-person response, such as police or ambulance services. Individuals who require an immediate medical response should call 911.
In addition to the 988 lifeline, Dartmouth students experiencing a crisis have access to a number of other resources, including 24/7 support from the Dartmouth Counseling Center by calling 603-646-9442 during business hours. (After hours, students can choose option 1 to reach on-call counseling support.) Students may also call or text the New Hampshire/West Central Rapid Response Access Point crisis hotline at 833-710-6477. And, beginning Nov. 1, students will have access to round-the-clock crisis support through the teletherapy service Uwill.
For non-crisis support, students may make an appointment with the Counseling Center using the Health Services Portal or by calling 603-646-9442.
In addition, the student-run Mental Health Union offers non-crisis peer support, and the Student Wellness Center offers non-crisis wellness check-ins that can help students manage academic stress, navigate relationships, make tough decisions, reflect on personal identity, and approach a variety of other topics and challenges with a Student Wellness Center staff member or another trained representative.