New Nationwide Three-Digit Mental Health Crisis Number

July 13th, 2022

A dark-skinned woman looking out a window and smiling with text above her that says "988 24/7 Crisis & Support"

Individuals facing mental health crises can call 988 anytime for help and life-saving services

Starting on July 16, a simple three-digit number will connect anyone in the United States to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (also called the Lifeline).

The new 988 dialing code will help people facing mental health crises immediately connect to individuals who are specially trained to respond to such situations. It is available for calls (multiple languages) and text or chat (English only).

The Lifeline is free, confidential and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Lifeline crisis counselors understand what callers are going through and know what local resources might make a difference. Anyone who needs support for a suicidal, mental health and/or substance use crisis may dial 988.

The new 988 number aims to strengthen efforts to transform crisis care nationwide. It will serve as a universal entry point so that no matter where someone lives, they can reach a trained crisis counselor who can help.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in five Americans will have a mental illness in any given year.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that in 2020 the United States had one death by suicide about every 11 minutes. Suicide is also a leading cause of death for people ages 10 to 34 years. Additionally, more than 100,000 individuals died from drug overdoses from April 2020 to 2021.

You can learn more about how 988 works and the support it provides on the 988 Frequently Asked Questions page.

This fact sheet also explains the basics about 988. (You can also see the fact sheet in Spanish.)

The current Lifeline phone number of (800) 273-8255 will remain available to people in emotional distress or suicidal crisis, even after 988 is launched. 

Individuals may also continue to text the Crisis Text Line (text HOME to 741741). Both offer free, confidential help around the clock, 365 days a year.

You can also visit our online Resource Directory for more mental health services and support.

Resources and Tips to Promote Good Mental Health

May 23rd, 2022

The words "Mental Health" spelled out with individual letter tiles

Helpful tools and resources for individuals of all ages in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month.

Society often focuses on physical health rather than mental health, but both are equally important. Mental health plays a big role in our overall well-being.

Although the pandemic’s challenges have led to more conversations about mental health, talking about it can still feel difficult or out of reach.

It’s important to remember that we all face challenges in life that can affect our mental well-being.

Understanding the topic can help us maintain good mental health and be more informed when experiencing a mental health condition or crisis.

Our Division of Specialized Care for Children (DSCC) team has pulled together a few resources to help get started:

  • Life can be challenging, but every day shouldn’t feel hard or out of our control. A mental health screening at can help provide a quick snapshot of our personal mental health. The screening is free and anonymous. The screening results can help start a conversation with your primary care provider.
  • Our DSCC Transition Tools include a Mental Health Resources tip sheet with a helpful list of crisis hotlines, service locators, videos and more.

Remember the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255 and the Crisis Text Line (text HOME to 741741) are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

A new, nationwide three-digit number will also be available this summer for people facing mental health crises. Starting on July 16, anyone in the United States can call 988 and get connected to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

More mental health resources are available in our online Resource Directory. You can also follow our DSCC Facebook page for more reminders and tips throughout the rest of the month.

Knowing the basics about mental health will help us all feel better prepared when needed.  Support is out there, and recovery is possible.

Social Connection Helps Physical and Mental Health

October 9th, 2020

Illustration of people figures hold hands and form a chain around the globe

To celebrate World Mental Health Day, DSCC promotes the importance of social connection and ways to support it.

The University of Illinois at Chicago’s Division of Specialized Care for Children (DSCC) is committed to strengthening families and building healthy communities.   

We encourage our participant families, providers, community partners and all Illinois residents to join us in recognizing World Mental Health Day on Oct. 10.

To celebrate, DSCC Quality Improvement Specialist Diane Becker shares the latest research on how social connection affects both our physical and mental health:

We know that for all of us to grow, develop and thrive in Illinois, it requires us to work together as a community to remain safe and support each other. 

This support includes creating opportunities for positive social connections and providing information and access to mental health support.

Positive social connections allow us to feel valued. They also provide opportunities to work together to solve problems.

Growing research shows more physical and mental health benefits to creating and maintaining these relationships. Positive connections create chemical changes that affect the immune system, nervous system, glucose levels and blood pressure.

The American Psychological Association’s article, Life-saving Relationships, provides more evidence of emotional connections and health.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is leading the conversation about mental health in positive terms and showing its connection to overall health and wellbeing. Social and environmental factors known to affect physical and mental health include:

* Food and housing security

* Safety in the home, school, work and community

* Access to care

* Connection to others

Mental health services are available throughout Illinois to offer connection and supports, even during this time of social distancing.

DSCC staff can also help you find available services and resources in your area to meet your unique needs.

Services are a safe and consistent place to move forward in adjustment or recovery to any setback, trauma, grief or loss that you may be experiencing. 

Supports can also benefit anyone seeking a healthier way to work through difficult or complex emotions, to challenge negative thinking patterns or to learn new techniques. 

The National Institute of Mental Health offers good information on a variety of mental health resources and assistance that are availbale if you think you may need more support. 

Access to care remains DSCC’s priority. 

Our team members are available to connect you with other families for peer-to-peer support. We can also share additional health supports and services in the community.

To learn more, please reach out to your local DSCC Regional Office or call us at (800) 322-3722.

You can also visit our online Resource Directory for additional support.

Featured resources include: