Washington DC–On July 16, 2022, the 988 dialing code will go into effect, routing callers to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. People will also be able to use this number to text or chat with a trained counselor.

This three-digit code will simplify access National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, making the network’s free and confidential resources more easily available to all Americans, similar to the Emergency Response ‘911’ phone number. However, the Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s previous number, 1-800-273-8255, will continue to be available for those in need.

This is the realization of the National Suicide Hotline Improvement Act of 2018, which has been supported by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMPHSA) as a method to increase both awareness and utilization of the service and to save lives.

As an advocate for the health of men and boys—fathers, young adults, siblings, sons, grandparents, uncles, widowers, and members of underserved Veteran populations—Men’s Health Network (MHN) believes that increasing the Lifeline reach and accessibility for any and all Americans is a vital effort.

At MHN we acknowledge that mental health is an essential part of overall health, and have made mental health awareness a key issue during our annual Men’s Health Month in June and have produced a number of publications featuring the existing Suicide Prevention Lifeline, such as Your Head, An Owner’s Manual.

The launch of 911 has demonstrated that simple numbers can quickly become widely known and accepted, are simpler for those in crisis, and save lives. The new 988 dialing code can reach the same general acceptance and quick implementation is critical as suicide continues to be a public health crisis, devastating to individuals, their families and friends.

More information on the Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be found on their website, suicidepreventionlifeline.org. Further online resources on mental health can be found through SAMHSA’s website (samhsa.gov), or at vibrant.org.

In previous years, Men’s Health Network has partnered with PCORI (Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute) in a series of meetings on specific impacts and outreach strategies for men and boys who may be dealing with mental health issues. These meetings can be found through MHN’s library or the links below:

1. https://www.menshealthnetwork.org/library/behavioral-health-boys-men-covid-19-economic.pdf

2. https://www.menshealthnetwork.org/library/behavioral-health-boys-men-covid-19-clinical.pdf 3. https://www.menshealthnetwork.org/library/behavioral-health-boys-men-covid-19-minorities.pdf 4. https://www.menshealthnetwork.org/library/depression-anxiety-males-gender-specific-screening-tools-report.pdf 5. https://www.menshealthnetwork.org/library/depression-anxiety-males-report.pdf

MHN is an international non-profit organization whose mission is to reach men, boys, and their families where they live, work, play, and pray with health awareness messages and tools, screening programs, educational materials, advocacy opportunities, and patient navigation. Men’s Health Network is the sponsor of Men’s Health Month (June) and Wear Blue Day. MHN maintains the http://www.TesticularCancerAwarenessMonth.com (April) and

http://www.ProstateCancerAwarenessMonth.org (September) websites. For information on MHN’s programs and activities, visit them at MensHealthNetwork.org, on Twitter (@MensHlthNetwork), and on Facebook (facebook.com/menshealthnetwork), or call 202-543-6461 ext. 101.