Service + Solidarity Spotlight: 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline Goes Live; AFSCME Members Ready to Answer the Call

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Working people across the United States have stepped up to help out our friends, neighbors and communities during these trying times. In our regular Service + Solidarity Spotlight series, we'll showcase one of these stories every day. Here’s today’s story.

Connecting to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline just got easier with Saturday’s launch of the 988 dialing code. Designated by Congress in 2020, the new code works like 911 and is a critical step forward in transforming the crisis care system in America. AFSCME members in the behavioral health field are hopeful that the new helpline number will help put more people in touch with the care they need and further reduce the stigma in seeking help. And in some cases, AFSCME members will be answering those calls.

“We understand that this isn’t a magic wand that will make everything better, but it is an important step to getting more people the help they need in time,” said AFSCME member Becca Ryan Roberts (not pictured), crisis intervention specialist at the recently organized Lines for Life in Portland, Oregon. “We are able to provide help in that moment, give them hope for at least another day and get them pointed in a direction that hopefully keeps them alive.”