The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline has been available nationwide since July 2022. The resource is approaching its one-year anniversary.

Suicide rates had decreased from 2019-2020, but increased from 2020-2021. After the launch of 988 in July, health experts have seen high call and text volumes monthly.

“We’re seeing a significant kind of trend in call volume. March being our highest month thus far with over 10,000 calls,” said Johnnie Gaspar with Arizona Complete Health.

The 988 lifeline, as well as other crisis hotlines, see averages of 9000 inbound and outbound calls and texts monthly. Gaspar said callers are in good hands.

“They’re trained counselors conducting a triage, trying to de-escalate and then ensuring that you have ongoing resources and support systems after that call is concluded,” said Gaspar.

The rates trend highest in the summer months and during testing periods. During those testing periods, experts see more calls from youth. During the summer trend, more adults are utilizing the resource.

“We have the ability to connect people in real time to resources, walk through and discuss some of the triggers that may have occurred again,” said Gaspar.

In some circumstances, a mobile team is sent to the person in need. In Southern Arizona, the average response time to a call is under 40 minutes.

Though a majority of the phone calls are related to anxiety and depression, the people answering the phone are trained to handle any type of mental health crisis.