SAMHSA's Spotlight Georgia: The One-Year Anniversary of the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline


A Fact Sheet for this event


May 19, 2023 ATLANTA, GA—Today, local leaders in suicide prevention and behavioral health joined 988 & Behavioral Health Crisis Coordinating Office Director Monica Johnson from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) and others for a town hall event, “Spotlight Georgia: The One-Year Anniversary of the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline,” to discuss the upcoming one-year anniversary of the transition to 988 and how Georgia has rolled out crisis care across the state as a leader and model for the country. SAMHSA is the federal agency that oversees the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. 

Town hall participants included Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) Kevin Tanner; Kimberly Williams, President and CEO of Vibrant Emotional Health, the 988 Lifeline national network administrator; Kyle Inhofe, MHA, Deputy Executive Director, the Veterans Crisis Line (VCL); Kristine Cuellar, Deputy Director, DBHDD’s Georgia Crisis & Action Line (GCAL), part of the 988 Lifeline network of call centers; and other leaders from the state’s mobile crisis and behavioral health system. 

Prior to heading the 988 Lifeline office at SAMHSA, Johnson served as Interim Commissioner for DBHDD.

“The 988 Lifeline is a critical resource for those in need in this state and across the country, and we are committed to ensuring that it remains accessible to everyone in crisis,” said Johnson, “We know that there is still much work to be done to address the mental health needs of our communities, but we are inspired by the partnerships we’ve formed and the progress we are making together to expand access to care and support for all who need it.” 

“To me, 988 is the ‘easy button’ for Georgians in need of crisis care,” said Commissioner Tanner, “We know that many individuals who experience a mental health crisis may not know where to turn for help, and the 988 Lifeline continues to provide a vital lifeline to them.”

"As the administrator of the 988 Lifeline, Vibrant is proud to partner with centers, states, and SAMSHA to open the door for millions of Americans to seek support when, where, and how they need it the most," said Kimberly Williams, President and CEO at Vibrant Emotional Health.

The easy-to-remember, three-digit calling code 988 became available nationwide on July 16, 2022, enabling callers to connect with local crisis counselors 24/7 by phone or text. The 988 Lifeline, which also links to the Veterans Crisis Line, follows a three-year joint effort by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Federal Communications Commission, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to put crisis care more within reach for people in need. 

“Spotlight Georgia: The One-Year Anniversary of the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline” is the first of a series of special events being held across the country by SAMHSA around the upcoming one-year anniversary of the 988 Lifeline. 

A comprehensive 988 Lifeline media toolkit for the 988 Lifeline is also available for media use. 

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