Utah Crisis Line sees increase in call volume in first week of 988 service


Boram Kim


The Huntsman Mental Health Institute at the University of Utah (HMHI) reported a 36% increase in daily average calls to its Utah Crisis Line in the first week after 988 launched (July 16-July 23).


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Utah joined the rest of the country on July 16th in operationalizing the 988 suicide and crisis prevention lifeline, a new, three-digit number for call (multiple languages), text, or chat services (English only) that connect people in crisis to local extensions of the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

HMHI supports the logistics and implementation of 988 services in the state in partnership with the Utah Department of Health and Human Services. Callers from an 801, 435, or 385 area code who are experiencing mental health, substance use, or suicidal crises will be routed to the Utah Crisis Line, which is serviced by certified crisis workers 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. 

The Utah Crisis Line is the only crisis call center affiliated with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in Utah. There are currently 43 certified operators that staff the crisis lines with plans to double the workforce in the upcoming fiscal year, according to HMHI sources. 

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is coordinating with federal agencies to eventually utilize geo-based routing instead of routing by area codes, so that everyone using 988 is talking to a crisis advocate in their state.