Skip to main content

988 Mental Health Lifeline Receives Nearly 40,000 Calls in First Year of Operation

Thursday, July 20, 2023

More than 3,000 calls per month to 988 in Oklahoma since launching in July 2022

The 988 Mental Health Lifeline, a three-digit number offering mental health support and immediate response during mental health crises, reached its first anniversary this month, receiving 39,831 calls since launching in July 2022.

“The 988 Mental Health Lifeline represents a significant advancement of mental health services within the state,” Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS) Commissioner Carrie Slatton-Hodges said. “With the implementation of this three-digit lifeline, more Oklahomans have timely access to the essential services for their well-being. It’s inspiring to see many Oklahomans taking advantage of the mental health resources available to them.”

Any Oklahoman can call or text 988 if experiencing a mental health emergency, seeking guidance for a mental health situation, needing substance use resources or looking to gain insight on navigating concerns for a friend or loved one.

Each year, nearly 300,000 Oklahomans report having a substance abuse disorder. Additionally, approximately 300 Oklahomans are admitted for urgent care or crisis mental health services. In the past year, 4.1% of adults in Oklahoma had serious thoughts of suicide, with one in 10 students reporting attempting suicide in the past 12 months.

The primary reasons for 988 calls in the first year include suicidal thoughts and thoughts of self-harm, followed by coordination of care.

“988 is for all Oklahomans who need mental health support, 24/7. An operator will listen to what’s going on, talk through next steps and connect the caller with the specific type of help they need. Depending on the situation, that could be a therapist recommendation, self-care resources or a connection with an Urgent Care and Crisis Center.” Slatton-Hodges stated.

Mental illness adversely affects thought processes, relationships, productivity and ability to adapt to change or face adversity. Early identification and treatment can make a profound difference in successfully managing mental illness and inspiring recovery. There are safe, effective and lifesaving tools available to those in need. ODMHSAS believes all Oklahomans deserve mental health and addiction services within reach without fear of judgment and shame.

ODMHSAS coordinated the statewide rollout of the mental health lifeline as part of its comprehensive crisis response system. 988 replaced the 11-digit National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number in July 2022 after mental health and suicide prevention advocates asked Congress for a shorter, easier-to-remember number for individuals in crisis.  

“In Oklahoma, 988 is more than just a call center. We have established the country’s most comprehensive crisis response continuum and can see the substantial impact it is having on Oklahomans reaching out in moments of distress or crisis,” Commissioner Slatton-Hodges continued.

Each time an individual contacts 988, free and confidential help is on the other end of the line — in English and Spanish. Operators of this lifeline are Oklahomans trained to provide conversational support or dispatch mobile crisis teams if the situation requires in-person assistance. 

Callers are connected to a mental health professional to talk through what's going on and get the resources needed for either themselves or their loved one. About 90% of the time, things can get sorted out with just a phone call. But if more help is needed, dispatchers or mobile crisis teams can set up appointments at nearby Urgent Care and Crisis Centers for those who need to visit with a trained behavioral specialist. If this is the case, transportation will be provided to help Oklahomans in need safely arrive at an Urgent Care and Crisis Center.

Urgent Care and Crisis Centers offer accessible mental health and substance abuse care where people can stabilize and receive professional help during a crisis. Functioning much like a hospital ER, Urgent Care and Crisis Centers accept 24/7/365 walk-ins, as well as ambulance, fire and police drop-offs.

Solari Crisis & Human Services, the statewide call center in Oklahoma, is one of the top-performing hotlines in the country and has helped thousands of individuals and families get connected to help through their crisis call center.

“We are seeing call volume generally increase month over month since the launch in 2022,” Solari Crisis & Human Services President and CEO Justin Chase said. “We attribute this mainly to the excellent work that ODMHSAS has done marketing the 988 Mental Health Lifeline and community partners sharing information about the new line, along with word of mouth.”

Promoting mental health awareness and reducing long-held stigmas surrounding mental illness and substance use creates a culture of support and empowerment vital to everyone’s mental health. If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, contact the 988 Oklahoma Mental Health Lifeline through call or text at any time to receive free and confidential support.

For more information about Oklahoma’s 988 Mental Health Lifeline, visit

ODMHSAS Communications

Back to Top