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Toolkit for Promoting the 988 Messaging Framework

In July 2022, the U.S.-based National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-8255) will transition to 988—an easy to remember three-digit dialing, texting, and chat code 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 the just-released 988 Messaging Framework. 

Background

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 (operational home of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline), 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 the transition to 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 are covering the transition to 988. Finally, click here to view the ‘Aligning the Field Around a 988 Messaging Framework’ webinar launch. 

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 the transition to 988—such as crisis call centers, decisionmakers, and others involved in the rollout and implementation of 988. 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 (operational home of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline). 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. 
  • While it’s necessary to educate key audiences—such as key implementation partners (e.g., crisis call centers, decisionmakers, state agencies, etc.)—about 988 prior to the July 2022 transition, widescale public promotion that encourages use of 988 should not take place until after the July 2022 nationwide transition when there are people in place to answer the calls/texts/chats. If your state or territory is still building capacity to answer 988 calls, texts, and chats, you may want to delay widespread public messaging even further.   
    • If you are messaging publicly about 988 prior to the July 2022 transition, please continue to publicize the current National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number (800-273-8255 [TALK]) for those who may be in crisis. 
  • Collaboration and alignment—especially when it comes to our messaging—will be key to a successful rollout and short- and long-term implementation of 988. The way we talk about 988 leading up to and following the July 2022 transition 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 begin developing your 988-related messages. 
  • As national leads of 988, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and Vibrant Emotional Health (operational home of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline) are developing 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 prepares for the July 2022 transition to 988 as an easy to remember three-digit dialing, texting, and chat code 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—recently 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 (operational home to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline), 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 new 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

Tailorable PowerPoint DeckYou 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.   

Download the PowerPoint deck here.  

 

Sample Social Media Content and Shareable Graphics

  • NEW: The @Action_Alliance just released a new #988MessagingFramework to help state agencies, crisis centers, nonprofits, businesses, etc. determine when and how to communicate about 988, both now and once it’s available nationwide in July 2022. Learn more via: 988messaging.org
  • As we prepare for the July 2022 transition to 988 as America’s three-digit Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Lifeline, it’s important that our messaging is aligned and coordinated. Check out the @Action_Alliance’s new #988Messaging Framework to learn more: 988messaging.org 
  • [ORGANIZATION HANDLE] encourages you to use the @Action_Alliance’s new #988MessagingFramework to help inform your messages about the upcoming July 2022 transition to 988 as America’s Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Lifeline. Learn more: 988messaging.org 

Please use the #988MessagingFramework and tag us in your social media posts: Twitter: @Action_Alliance, Facebook: @ActionAlliance, and LinkedIn: @Natonal Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention.

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