Utah Crisis Line Answers 90 Percent of In-State Calls in First Year of 988 Launch

July 13, 2023

The Utah Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and Huntsman Mental Health Institute (HMHI) are proud to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. Since the launch of the three-digit number on July 16, 2022, the lifesaving crisis line has provided invaluable support, resources, and hope to individuals in crisis throughout Utah.

Over the past year, the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline has played a vital role in enhancing the mental health support infrastructure in our communities. The 24/7 crisis resource has served as a lifeline for countless individuals who have found solace, compassion, and professional assistance when they needed it the most. 

For the past decade, Utah has invested significant resources in moving this vision forward. Due to the commitment from the Governor’s Office, the Utah Legislature, and partners in health systems, private business, local government, and non-profit agencies, suicide and crisis intervention has proven to be a top priority. With national legislation spearheaded by Utah’s own congressmen, Utah has been a national leader in its commitment to providing mental health services to all. 

“At DHHS, our goal is to ensure that all Utahns have fair and equitable opportunities to live healthy and safe lives,” said Tracy Gruber, executive director of DHHS. “We know supporting people’s emotional, behavioral, and mental health are key points of focus if we are to succeed in this vision. Together with our many community partners—health care systems, providers, community advocates, local governments, and everyday Utahns—we are building a comprehensive crisis system that can serve anyone, anytime, anywhere in the state. When people are in crisis, 988 is there to take the call. We are grateful for the funding and support from the Governor’s Office and Utah Legislature in building this system.” 

Key accomplishments of the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline in its inaugural year:

  • Since the launch of 988, 35% of the total call volume to the Utah Crisis Line originated from the national 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. Prior to the 988 launch, 25% of the total call volume to the Utah Crisis Line came from the National Lifeline number. 
  • Total call volume to the Utah Crisis Line increased 27% in July 2022 (the national launch of 988) compared to July 2021.
  • Nearly 87,000 calls were answered by a certified crisis worker in Utah in fiscal year 2022 (July 1, 2021 – June 30, 2022).
  • 90% of crisis calls in Utah were answered in-state by a certified crisis worker.
  • 90% of crisis calls in Utah were resolved over the phone.
  • 40 new crisis workers were hired in FY22 to expand capacity and prepare for the launch of 988 on July 16, 2022, a 93% increase of the Utah Crisis Line workforce compared to FY21. 42 new crisis workers were hired in FY23 to continue improving Utahns’ access to 24/7 lifesaving services. 

The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is available 24/7 for calls, texts, and chats for those experiencing emotional distress, suicidal thoughts, substance use disorder crises, veteran’s crises, and LGBTQIA+ crises. The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is a national network comprised of more than 200 crisis centers across the country. Anyone that calls 988 from a Utah area code is directed to the Utah Crisis Line, which is managed and staffed by certified crisis workers at HMHI.

“Our team of crisis workers are compassionate, dedicated, and incredibly skilled at offering support and hope to the people who demonstrate tremendous courage when they call the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline,” said Rachel Lucynski, director of Community Crisis Intervention & Support Services at HMHI. “We know it can be difficult to make that phone call and seek help, and it’s a privilege and honor to have people trust our team in their time of need. Dealing with life’s stressors or a mental health crisis can be overwhelming, and we want people to know that you don’t have to go through those challenges alone.”  

988 represents more than just a phone line—it represents an opportunity to access a broader system based on a vision where a person experiencing behavioral, emotional, or mental health crisis has access to help: anytime, anyplace, anywhere. 

“The implementation of the 988 Lifeline has been a transformative step toward prioritizing mental health and breaking down barriers to access care,” said Mark Rapaport, MD, CEO of Huntsman Mental Health Institute. “With the support of the Utah Department of Health and Human Services and our community partners, we now have a lifeline that offers hope and healing to individuals in their darkest moments. We remain committed to expanding our efforts, raising awareness, and ensuring that mental health services are readily available to all individuals in need.”