What to Do in a Crisis: How the 988 Lifeline Saves Lives

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This blog was written by Fani Sculley, Speaks 2 Inspire: 

Disclaimer: If you are thinking about suicide, please stop reading and reach out for help—text or call 988 to speak with a counselor.

During my first year in college, I considered ending my life. I remember thinking: I need help, and I wish someone noticed how much I’m struggling. But to the outside world, I was a successful student. My 4.0 GPA, involvement in several student organizations, job promotions, and social life didn’t suggest otherwise. But inside, I felt overwhelmed, alone, and unmotivated.

Unfortunately, my story is not unique.

Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death Speaks 2 Inspire graphic

Suicide is the leading cause of death among youth ages 10–24. It is a public health issue that negatively impacts our communities, families, and friends. But suicide is preventable, and many resources are available to help you or someone you love through difficult times.

One of these resources is the 988 Lifeline, a new three-digit tool to connect you with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. This resource offers 24/7 chat and phone support during your stormy days.

Creating accessible mental health resources.

With over 160 crisis centers, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline eliminates barriers to care for many individuals who want to get help but don’t know the lifeline’s phone number. With 988, you can now text or call anytime, anywhere, and access FREE mental health resources.

What if I am afraid to ask for help?

I get it. When I struggled with depression and anxiety, I was afraid of being rejected, perceived as weak, or dismissed.

Stigma prevents us from seeking help. But the 988 Lifeline can reduce some of these barriers too. Why? Because this resource is completely CONFIDENTIAL.

Yes, you read that right. Everything and anything you share will be between you and your counselor. Not ready to talk to someone about it? You can text the lifeline for support (see the example below).

988 Suicide Prevention Lifeline text message Speaks 2 Inspire Graphic

And if you are not there yet, you can still save the lifeline’s number in your phone for when you or someone you love may need it. As my husband always says, “it’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.”

Help is available. Hope is restorable.

Creating safe spaces to share our thoughts, promoting mental health education, and advocating for accessible resources are all key steps to preventing suicide. We can save lives by empowering ourselves and others with education and tools.

In the words of Halima Shegow, “You don’t need to be a doctor or a psychologist or a therapist to say the right words to someone. It can literally be one word, one sentence, and it just…it just clicks.”

Quote Speaks 2 Inspire Graphic

With the 988 Lifeline, you can support loved ones by referring them to immediate resources. Your words of encouragement, validation, and referral will make a huge difference.

More Mental Health Resources

Four Signs That You Need Therapy
Tips to manage stress when you are feeling off
Selfcare tips: 7 Ways to take care of your mental health

This blog was written by Fani Sculley. Connect with Fani on LinkedIn.


At Speaks 2 Inspire, we’re committed to raising mental health awareness among young people in schools.

Contact us to learn more about our programs for colleges and universities.

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