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Nationwide outage affecting 988 suicide and crisis hotline

(Getty)

(NEXSTAR) – The national mental health crisis hotline, 988, is experiencing an hourslong, systemwide outage Thursday.

The issue started roughly around 10 a.m., according to the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, and is impacting all calls.

“The 988 lifeline is currently experiencing a service outage, we are actively working to address the outage, we also understand you may be in crisis and need services immediately,” a recorded message states.

Veterans are encouraged to call (877) 267-6030 or call any Veteran’s Affairs facility and press 7.

FILE – New York Police Department officers wake up sleeping passengers and direct them to the exits at the 207th Street station on the A train, Thursday, April 30, 2020, in the Manhattan borough of New York. In New York City’s latest effort to address a mental health crisis on its streets and subways, Mayor Eric Adams announced Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022, that authorities would more aggressively intervene to help people in need of treatment, saying there was “a moral obligation” to do so, even if it means providing care to those who don’t ask for it. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

“If you’re in crisis and you need support, text 988 or chat with us online at 988lifeline.org/chat,” the organization wrote on its website.

The Department of Health and Human Services, which oversaw the launch of the three-digit lifeline earlier this year, is in communication with the contractor that supports the line, HHS spokeswoman Sarah Lovenheim said in a tweet Thursday.

“We’ve taken immediate action to ensure alternative 988 channels are available to the public,” Lovenheim tweeted. The outage had been ongoing for several hours Thursday, she said.

The 3-digit telephone number connects callers with a national network of local crisis centers and provides free and confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to anyone experiencing a suicidal crisis or emotional distress.

Intrado, the telecommunications provider for the service, could not immediately be reached for comment. In a statement on its website, the company said it is “experiencing an incident that is impacting production across numerous systems” and is “working diligently to restore service.”

This is a developing story; the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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