(WTNH) – The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is changing its number as of July 16.

The lifeline will now be three numbers: 9-8-8. The new three-digit numbers will route callers to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

The previous number was 1-800-273-TALK (8255), which will remain available to people in emotional distress or suicidal crisis even after 988 is launched.

When people call, text, or chat 988, they will be connected to trained counselors that are part of the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline network. These trained counselors will listen, understand how their problems affect them, provide support, and connect them to resources.

The change is taking place due to the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act, federal legislation signed into law in October 2020, designating 988 as the three-digital dialing code for the lifeline.

Dan Walsh, an Air Force veteran, knows how fragile a veteran’s mental health can be. After serving the country, he’s now serving fellow veterans, but getting through to them isn’t easy.

“They take those cards and say, ‘thank you, I’ll use if I need it,’ but then I find them in the trash can on the way out,” Walsh said.

He’s referring to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Senator Chris Murphy wanted to clear up the confusion. His workshop at the VA in West Haven addressed how veterans get what they need through the call.

“Based on the things they’ve encountered, it puts them more at risk. They can be triggered more than someone else down the street, a civilian,” said Vince Santilli, CEO of Homes for the Brave.

Veterans in the past have called either the United Way’s 211 hotlines or the previous 10-digital lifeline. Both numbers will remain active during the transition.

Studies show that 90 percent of people who call the lifeline feel less depressed after speaking with the counselor.

Nationally, lifeline received 3.6 million calls, chats, and texts in 2021,

For more information about 988 or if you or someone you know needs help, click here.