Governor Ricketts Introduces New 988 Suicide Lifeline

July 13, 2022, 4 p.m. ·

Governor Ricketts held a press conference Wednesday morning. He was joined by Sheri Dawson, DHHS Director of Behavioral Health and Kyle Kinney, Boys Town's program manager.

Governor Pete Ricketts announced that the new 988 Suicide Prevention Lifeline will launch in Nebraska. This three digit number will be utilized as the Suicide Lifeline here and in many other states.

Starting Saturday, dialing 988 on the phone will now route callers to call, text, or chat with trained counselors from Boys Town. This easy-to-remember three digit number will replace the original 1-800-273-TALK lifeline.
Governor Ricketts was joined Wednesday by representatives from Boys Town, which has been Nebraska’s suicide lifeline provider since 2005. Boys Town Program Manager Kyle Kinney explained how counselors will work with callers.
“We’ll work with the caller to do a number of things starting with de-escalation," Kinney said. "We’re going to address safety, and then we’re going to safety plan with our callers. And finally, we’re going to schedule a follow-up with the caller to review the safety plans and do the resource navigation because we want to make sure that not only are they connecting, but they’re also continuing to be safe.”
Dr. Dave Miers is the Director of Behavioral Health Services at Bryan Medical Center and the Nebraska State Suicide Prevention Coalition. He believes this new 3-digit number will be extremely beneficial, especially compared to the current phone number.
“If I’m a person in crisis, that’s a hard number to know. And when you’re in a medical crisis, we all know to call 911. So you know what? 911 for medical crisis. 988 for mental health or suicide crisis,” Dr. Miers said.
If you or anyone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, or if you want to help someone experiencing a crisis- you can soon call 988 for free and confidential support.