T-Mobile customers can now dial 988 and get access to free mental health support from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a network of 180 local and state-funded crisis centers. The NSPL can also be reached by dialing 1-800-273-8255 (1-800-273-TALK), but the new 988 number will be faster and easier to remember for those who need support.
The FCC is requiring all phone service providers to activate the 988 emergency lifeline by July 2022, but T-Mobile is enabling the emergency lifeline for its customers 19 months before the deadline. This means the lifeline will be active during the holiday season, which can be difficult for many people and could include added stress this year due to COVID-19.
T-Mobile says that it's the first major carrier to activate the 988 emergency lifeline for mental health support. To enable it, T-Mo modified its network to translate and route 988 calls to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and updated its billing system to ensure that customers will not be charged for using the service. It also created a bounceback message so that anyone who texts 988 will get a response advising them to call 988.