A new three-digit number for behavioral health crises, 9-8-8, will be rolled out on July 16, 2022, and experts are predicting the volume of calls to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (Lifeline) will increase beyond current call levels. To prepare for the 9-8-8 launch, states will need support to strengthen their current crisis response infrastructure and services.

EDC is providing coaching and guidance to leaders in state and territorial agencies who have received funding from Vibrant Emotional Health to plan for the 9-8-8 rollout. EDC staff are supporting grantees in engaging key stakeholders and developing plans—including preparing for the launch, post-launch quality control and adjustments, and long-term maintenance of improvements—to ensure that 9-8-8 is a success.

Key Activities

The project is carrying out the following activities:

  • Provide customized coaching and support to 50 funded grantees across the United States
  • Conduct a 9-8-8 landscape analysis with current Lifeline crisis centers in each state
  • Develop a 9-8-8 strategic planning template
  • Participate in grantee stakeholder planning meetings
  • Convene a robust virtual grantee community of practice, including live and pre-recorded sessions
  • Monitor grantee deliverables and status


  • The project will build the capacity of 50 grant leads to strengthen and support crisis services in their state, as well as reaching several dozen stakeholders per grant with critical information in preparing for the 9-8-8 rollout.
  • Landscape analysis reports will provide detailed information on the services available through each state’s current Lifeline crisis centers.
  • Strategic plans will ensure each state and territory grantee is prepared to answer the anticipated influx of 9-8-8 calls and to provide appropriate crisis services in response.
  • Effective 9-8-8 strategic plans will also ensure the following:
    • 9-8-8 calls are answered quickly in each state or territory, and the response is appropriate to the behavioral health emergency.
    • The crisis services mobilized to respond to each call are appropriate, non-punitive, and protect the dignity of the individual.

Learn More

Vibrant Emotional Health

National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD), SAMHSA