988 suicide hotline has helped save nearly 500 people so far in Georgia

ATLANTA — All across the country people who are having a mental health emergency can dial 988.

Like in the early days of 911, The federal government gave states funding to make the 988 “suicide and crisis lifeline” service available nationwide.

To keep it going long-term, new legislation allows states to supplement federal money by enacting new telecommunication fees.


Although 988 is getting a lot of use, fewer than half of states are using the new law to raise funds.

State leaders say Georgia does not need to add the fees because 988 is already funded through the budget. The Department of Behavioral of Health received $180 million and the 988 program is funded through that money, according to state leaders.

Data on 988 calls in Georgia shows in the first 45 days of the program, 476 people who called, who were believed to be in danger, were saved.

The numbers show rural Georgians call at much higher rates than people in large cities, and men call in more often than women.