Soon there will be a new national hotline number for those feeling suicidal or in crisis. Credit: CBS 13/WGME

To reach a suicide prevention hotline, call 888-568-1112 or 800-273-TALK (8255), or visit

PORTLAND, Maine — Soon there will be a new national hotline number for those feeling suicidal or in crisis.

It’s just three digits: 988.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline has been around since 2005, answering calls and now texts.

Advocates say a new, much shorter phone number will be easier to remember and more likely to be used in a crisis.

“Crisis lines save lives,” Office of Behavioral Health Acting Director Sarah Squirrell said.

Maine officials are getting ready to implement the new National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number on July 16.

“There are increased mental health needs across the state, so 988 will really ensure that immediate timely access to appropriate and therapeutic care,” Squirrell said.

Right now, when a Mainer dials the national number, they’re then routed to the Maine Crisis Hotline.

That will still be the case with the new number; it’s just far simpler.

“It’s so much easier,” NAMI Maine Suicide Prevention Clinic Director Greg Marley said. “So it’s a system streamliner, particularly for the individuals who are struggling.”

The state is providing enough funds to add six more staff members to the call center, along with additional resources to other services to get people the help they need.

“This is kind of the first step in the right direction of really realizing our broader vision for crisis reform of services across the state,” Squirrell said.

Hundreds of millions of dollars are also being spent on this issue at a national level.

“We are very pleased to see an increase in funding to a mental health system, which is bolstering the ability of behavioral health crisis teams to respond to people who are in crisis,” Marley said.

Loved ones can also call the hotline if they’re looking for resources.

Most of the time addressing someone in crisis relies on family, on friends, on people who love them,” Marley said. “And the ease of access to help may continue to lower the stigma about people reaching out for mental health support.”

The new number will be implemented in Maine and across the nation on July 16.

After that, you can still call the old hotline number at 1-800-273-TALK.