NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The number of people in Connecticut calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline increased by more than 60% since the summer of 2022, according to the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.

The United States’ first nationwide three-digit mental health crisis hotline – 988 – went live in July 2022. It connects callers with trained mental health counselors.

“My thoughts on when I heard about the tremendous increase in the use of 988 is it’s working,” Dr. Laura Saunders, a psychologist with the Institute of Living said. “The reason 911 is successful for emergencies is because it’s easy to remember and easy to use, and 988 is serving that same purpose.”

According to state-level reports from the 988 Lifeline and Vibrant Emotional Health, the administrator of the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline:

  • There have been 3,600 calls to 988 over the last year in Connecticut;
  • An average of 3,000 calls per month;
  • A more than 60% increase from the previous year

While the numbers indicate more people are struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts, experts said it might signal an increased willingness to seek help.

“The more we have access to resources, and the more we reduce the barriers to getting quality care, the less suffering there will be,” Saunders said.

Those in need can also text 988, and contacting 988 does not mean a police officer will show up at your door.

“These numbers clearly indicate that a three-digit number is the means by which people can easily remember and easily access help and support,” Saunders said.

If you or a loved one is feeling distressed, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The crisis center provides free and confidential emotional support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to civilians and veterans. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or text HOME to 741-741 (Crisis Text Line).