988 suicide hotline expands services for LGBTQ individuals

A program that connects LGBTQ youth and young adults in crisis with specialized counselors is expanding its text and chat hours.

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The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline has expanded its services for LGBTQ youth and young adults. 

A representative with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, which funds the hotline, said it began a pilot program in September 2022 that aims to support LGBTQ people under 25. They can press "option 3" when calling the lifeline to be connected with a counselor who is focused on meeting the needs of LGBTQ youth and young adults. 

Since the program began, nearly 140,000 contacts have reportedly been made. 

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In an effort to make sure people get the help they need, a text and chat option will now be available 24 hours a day. It was previously only available between the hours of 3 p.m. and 6 a.m. Eastern. The phone line will remain open 24 hours a day. 

The Trevor Project, an organization that focuses on suicide prevention, says risk factors among LGBTQ youth include bullying, discrimination and rejection. 

The organization reports that more than 1.8 million LGBTQ people between the ages of 13 and 24 consider suicide each year.