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What Deaf Callers Can Expect When Calling 988 (Part 2)

June 20, 2024

You asked, we answered! Join DeafLEAD and DeafHealth for another conversation about 988 Lifeline, the national three digit 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline provided by the federal government.  
DeafHealth advocates for access in healthcare and Deaf LEAD provides a safe space for anyone in need of support. Deaf LEAD provides 24/7 crisis intervention, advocacy, case management, interpreting, and mental health support services.  

*We are creating a space to have safe discussions about difficult topics. If you have comments, please share with respect and consideration to others. Today, we are grateful to have accessible services like National Deaf Therapy, Deaf LEAD, Deaf Counseling Center, and more. If you or someone you know is struggling, please reach out to support services such as your physician, the local ER, or the 988 hotline in ASL ( and click ASL NOW). 

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Transcript and Video Description

[Video Description: The post has a video thumbnail with a white background. And three teal and blue colored circles. In the middle of a dark teal circle in the center is white text that says “Why you should call the 988 Lifeline”  In the video: two individuals have a conversation with each other. Aylah wears a brown shirt with an orange jacket and gold glasses. Olivia wears a black shirt with the DeafLEAD logo on the right.

Transcript: (Aylah) I’m thinking about calling 9-8-8. Does calling them really help? Should I do it? (Olivia) YES! The988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is provided by the federal government for free. Data has shown that after interacting with trained crisis counselors, most callers are less depressed, less at risk of self harm and associated behaviors, less overwhelmed, and more hopeful. Many studies have proven this. In fact, about 98% of the people who reach out to the hotline benefit from the call. They receive support, resources, and connection to local community resources. (Aylah) Do your crisis counselors know how to interact with Deaf callers. (Olivia) Yes! We are trained in cultural competency and we communicate in ASL fluently. Our agents have completed core clinical training and training on standards regarding safety assessment and imminent risk interventions too. (Aylah) I’m worried that during the call, you will refer me to 9-1-1? (Olivia) A small percentage require calling 911-less than 2% of the total number of callers, hearing and deaf. Most of those are done with the consent of the caller. This happens when there is an absolute risk to someone’s life that cannot be alleviated during the 988 call. In this situation, the counselor shares information with 911 that is crucial to saving the caller’s life and stabilizing the person.  

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