The Times podcast: The 411 on the 988 suicide hotline

A man jogs past a sign about crisis counseling on the Golden Gate Bridge.
A man jogs past a sign about crisis counseling on the Golden Gate Bridge on Aug. 3, 2021. People in crisis and those trying to help them will have a new three-digit number, 988, to reach suicide prevention networks starting in July.
(Eric Risberg / Associated Press)

Remember this number: 988. The new three-digit hotline is now the 911 equivalent for mental health emergencies. Suicide is the second-leading cause of death for young people in the U.S., according to the National Institute of Mental Health. And experts say the pandemic, racial violence and political unrest are behind an uptick in suicides across the country. That’s why last weekend’s launch of the nationwide mental health crisis hotline couldn’t come soon enough.


Today, as part of “For Your Mind,” Los Angeles Times’ new initiative exploring mental health from multiple angles, we talk about the hopes and challenges ahead for the 988 hotline. Will it help fundamentally change how the U.S. treats and considers mental health, or will it fail like so many efforts before it? Read the full transcript here.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: Jaclyn Cosgrove, assistant editor at the Los Angeles Times and manager of “For Your Mind”

More reading:

Op-Ed: Will the new 988 hotline be a game changer for mental health or a missed opportunity?

New 988 hotline is the 911 for mental health emergencies

Editorial: For crisis response, press 988 — and pass a bill to keep it funded

About The Times

“The Times” is produced by Shannon Lin, Denise Guerra, Kasia Brousalian, David Toledo and Ashlea Brown. Our editorial assistants are Madalyn Amato and Carlos De Loera. Our intern is Surya Hendry. Our engineers are Mario Diaz, Mark Nieto and Mike Heflin. Our editor is Kinsee Morlan. Our executive producers are Jazmin Aguilera and Shani Hilton. And our theme music is by Andrew Eapen.