Intrado outage shuts down 988 mental health hotline

A new national 988 hotline to help anyone experiencing a mental health emergency was down for several hours on Thursday.

Those who try to reach the line for help with suicide, depression, or other mental health crises are greeted with a message stating that the line is “experiencing service outages.”

People can still contact a Lifeline Mental Health Counselor by texting “988” or by opening a chat on

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

“We have taken immediate action to make alternative 988 channels available to the public,” Lowenheim tweeted. The blackout continued for several hours on Thursday, she said.

Veterans who wish to contact the hotline can call the Veterans Crisis Line at 877-267-6030. The outage also affects the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration’s disaster helpline.

Launched in July, the 988 hotline is a national helpline staffed by mental health counselors across the country and is just as easy to remember as the 911 emergency line.

Intrado, a telecommunications service provider, cannot be immediately available for comment. In a statement on its website, the company said it was “experiencing an incident that impacts many systems” and “working diligently to restore service.”

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