Finding the right crisis support: Alternatives to the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline
Discover resources and support options for mental health crises to keep yourself and your loved ones safe during challenging times.
There are many resources available to those who need support, and it's important to find the right one for you. Remember that seeking help is a brave and important step in taking care of your mental health.
The new 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline provides 24/7 support to anyone in need and has tailored assistance for veterans (line 1), individuals who speak Spanish (line 2), and LGBTQ+ youth and young adults (line 3); however, there are many reasons why someone would consider alternatives to 988. For example, if a person is dealing with specific issues like addiction or trauma, they may feel more comfortable reaching out to a hotline that specializes in that area. Additionally, some hotlines have specialized services for people who speak a different language or come from a specific cultural background. Ultimately, everyone has different preferences when it comes to seeking support.
If you’re working with a counselor or therapist, they may be the best option to turn to in moments of need. Other crisis support options include:
- National Eating Disorder Association Helpline (1-800-931-2237)
- This is a confidential helpline for individuals who are struggling with eating disorders, as well as their loved ones. You can call or text this helpline to receive support, information, and referrals to treatment resources.
- BlackLine (1-800-604-5841)
- This is a support service specifically for Black individuals who are experiencing mental health challenges. You can call this helpline to receive culturally responsive support from trained counselors and peers.
- National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-7233)
- This is a confidential hotline for individuals who are experiencing domestic violence or abuse. You can call this hotline to receive support, safety planning, and referrals to local resources for assistance.
- Deaf Crisis Line (1-321-800-3323)
- This hotline is specifically for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing and use American Sign Language as their primary language. You can use a videophone to call this number and speak with a trained counselor who is fluent in ASL.
- Trevor Project (1-866-488-7386)
- This is a 24/7 crisis intervention and suicide prevention hotline for LGBTQ+ youth. You can call or text START to 678678 to connect with a trained counselor.
- SAMHSA National Helpline (1-800-662-HELP or 1-800-662-4357)
- This is a 24/7 helpline for substance abuse and mental health support that will connect you with a trained specialist.
- NAMI Helpline (1-800-950-NAMI, or 1-800-950-6264)
- This is a helpline for anyone seeking information or support related to mental health available Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.–8 p.m. EST. You can also email email@example.com.
- StrongHearts Native Helpline (1-844-7-NATIVE, or 1-844-762-8483)
- This is a 24/7 safe, confidential and anonymous domestic and sexual violence helpline for Native Americans and Alaska Natives, offering culturally appropriate support and advocacy.
Sometimes a mental health challenge is not a crisis, but you may still want support or resources. In these cases, you might try the Michigan Peer Warmline at 1-888-733-7753, which is serviced by peer support specialists and recovery coaches from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. EST every day. You could also try connecting with an online counselor through a service such as BetterHelp, which usually has shorter wait times compared to in-person therapy.
To find a counselor near you, you can use SAMHSA’s Treatment Locator, call 211 to ask for local mental health resources, or ask your health insurance for a list of covered providers. Additionally, you can use walk-in or support line services from your local Community Mental Health Service Program (CMHSP), which primarily serves individuals living with severe mental illness and developmental disabilities but does not turn away any person in need of help. Some centers also have mobile mental health crisis teams, which are trained mental health providers that will come to you during a mental health crisis in place of police officers or paramedics.
It's worth remembering that the support options for these crises have varying policies on when to contact 911. If you're concerned about calling 911 or want to learn more about their policies, it's best to check the website of each resource. Depending on your situation, you may also want to go directly to the nearest emergency room or call 911. Consider your personal preferences and what resources are available in your community.
Opportunities to connect
Michigan State University Extension also offers a variety of programming and resources to support yourself or loved ones undergoing mental health distress. MSU Extension offers programs such as Mental Health First Aid, which can teach you how to support someone who is experiencing a mental health challenge or crisis.
For those in the agriculture industry and their families, resources and information can be found at the Managing Farm Stress website. This includes access to teletherapy services, the free virtual training Rural Resilience and much more.
Note: The web addresses and phone numbers of the respective hotlines are correct as of March 28, 2023.