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Suicide and crisis lifeline 988 extends to Hawaiʻi DOH

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You can soon call 988 if you’re having a mental health or substance use crisis — similar to calling 911 in an emergency.

Hawaiʻi will adopt the national 988-dialing code starting July 16.

Phone users with an 808 area code can dial 988 to connect with the Hawaiʻi CARES crisis line. Other area codes will be connected to their respective state’s health department psychiatric care. You can also continue using the online chat.

Hawaiʻi CARES is a free and confidential system with staff available 24/7 for emergency counseling and referrals to behavioral sources. All counselors are locally trained.

Hawaiʻi CARES received 101,151 calls last year. It is part of a network of over 200 independent crisis centers equipped to help people in mental health-related distress or experiencing a suicidal crisis.

In 2020, Congress designated the 988 dialing code to operate through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to improve access to mental health crisis services in a way that meets the growing national need.

Zoe Dym was a news producer at Hawaiʻi Public Radio.
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