In July 2022, the U.S.-based National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-8255) transitioned to 988—an easy to remember three-digit dialing and texting code, with a chat feature on 988lifeline.org, for anyone experiencing a suicidal or mental health crisis or emotional distress. We need your help to ensure the field’s messaging is aligned, coordinated, and effective—a key goal of the988 Messaging Framework.
What Is the 988 Messaging Framework and Why Was It Developed?
To help align 988 messaging across state agencies, crisis centers, non-profit organizations, businesses, foundations, and other organizations messaging to the public about 988, the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention (Action Alliance), released a 988 Messaging Framework in March 2022. This important new resource was developed in collaboration with a 988 Messaging Task Force co-led by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and Vibrant Emotional Health, the national leads of 988 rollout and implementation.
The 988 Messaging Framework serves as a roadmap of key elements to consider when planning a messaging strategy around 988. This resource provides succinct information about 988 that you can incorporate into your messaging efforts and outlines broad guidance for organizations around when and how to develop public messages about 988. The 988 Messaging Framework does not provide tailored, audience-specific, ready-to-use messaging. Instead, we designed this guidance as a starting point to think through who you need to reach and how to develop messaging that best meets the needs of the audiences or populations you want to reach. In addition, the 988 Messaging Framework includes a one-page media toolkit that we encourage you to share with news reporters.
Who Is This Toolkit for and How Should It Be Used?
This toolkit provides resources to help you share and promote use of the 988 Messaging Framework with other stakeholders who are developing messages about 988—such as crisis call centers, decisionmakers, and others. We encourage you to use the 988 Messaging Framework as you develop your own 988-related messages; we also ask that you help promote it widely to others using the resources in this toolkit, which includes:
- Key messages about the 988 Messaging Framework
- Customizable listserv or newsletter blurb
- Social media posts and shareable graphics
- Tailorable PowerPoint deck about the 988 Messaging Framework
Key Messages About the 988 Messaging Framework
- The 988 Messaging Framework was developed by the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention (Action Alliance)—the nation’s public-private partnership for suicide prevention—in collaboration with a 988 Messaging Task Force, which was co-led by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and Vibrant Emotional Health. Support for the Framework was provided by Action Alliance Executive Committee member Johnson & Johnson—Janssen.
- The 988 Messaging Framework provides general guidance to the mental health and suicide prevention field—or anyone considering publicly messaging about 988—around when and how to develop strategic and aligned messaging about 988. Since we know a one-size fits all approach will not work, this Framework is not intended to provide tailored, audience-specific, ready-to-use messages about 988. Instead, it was developed to provide a general roadmap while encouraging you—public messengers—to customize it to best meet the needs of the audience(s) you serve.
- Collaboration and alignment—especially when it comes to our messaging—will be key to the short- and long-term implementation of 988. The way we talk about 988 should be consistent so the public does not get conflicting messages; this is why we encourage you and others to use the 988 Messaging Framework as you develop your 988-related messages.
- As national leads of 988, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and Vibrant Emotional Health have developed additional messaging resources for the field. The Action Alliance and its partners will continue to update the 988 Messaging Framework with new information as it becomes available.
Sample Blurb (for inclusion in e-newsletters, listservs, etc.)
As the United States has transitioned to 988 — an easy to remember three-digit dialing and texting code, with a chat feature on 988lifeline.org, for anyone experiencing a suicidal or mental health crises or emotional distress, it’s important that messaging efforts are aligned, coordinated, and consistent. To help organizations consider when and how to develop public messages about 988, the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention (Action Alliance)—the nation’s public-private partnership committed to advancing suicide prevention and changing the conversation about mental health and suicide prevention—released the 988 Messaging Framework. The 988 Messaging Framework, developed in collaboration with a 988 Messaging Task Force co-led by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and Vibrant Emotional Health, provides broad guidance for organizations about when and how to develop public messages about 988. As you develop 988 messages, [ORGANIZATION NAME] encourages you to use this resource to help inform your planning and to ensure our nation’s 988 messaging is strategic, aligned, and effective. To learn more, visit 988messaging.org.
Tailorable PowerPoint Deck
You are encouraged to use this tailorable presentation deck to help educate your network about the importance of aligned messaging, what the 988 Messaging Framework is, and why it should be used widely by those messaging about 988. We encourage you to tailor this presentation, as appropriate, such as adding your logo or other relevant information. This deck can be used when talking with state or federal agencies, call centers, local nonprofit chapters, health care system leads, corporate social impact teams, and others.
Sample Social Media Content and Shareable Graphics
The @Action_Alliance has a #988MessagingFramework to help state agencies, crisis centers, nonprofits, businesses, etc. determine when and how to communicate about 988. Learn more via: 988messaging.org
As we recognize the one-year anniversary of 988 as America’s three-digit Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, it’s important that our messaging is aligned and coordinated. Check out the @Action_Alliance’s #988Messaging Framework to learn more: 988messaging.org
[ORGANIZATION HANDLE] encourages you to use the @Action_Alliance’s #988MessagingFramework to help inform your messages about the transition to 988 as America’s Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. Learn more: 988messaging.org