The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK is a suicide prevention network of 132 crisis centers in the United States, that provides a 24-hour, toll-free hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. After dialing 1-800-273-TALK, the caller is routed to their nearest crisis center to receive immediate counseling and local mental health referrals. The Lifeline supports people who call for themselves or someone they care about.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline grant is one component of the National Suicide Prevention Initiative (NSPI), a multi-project effort to reduce suicide led by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Center for Mental Health Services (SAMHSA).
In July 2004 SAMHSA released a notice of funding availability (NOFA) as part of its National Suicide Prevention Initiative (NSPI). In keeping with SAMHSA's duty to advance the goals of the President Bush’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health and the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention, the NOFA called for proposals from nonprofit organizations to expand, enhance, and sustain a network of certified crisis centers providing suicide prevention and intervention services to those in need using a toll-free number and website.
In September 2004, the Mental Health Association of New York City (MHA of NYC), with their partners The National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD) and Columbia University/Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene (RFMH) and Rutgers University Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology were selected to administer the federally funded network of crisis centers named the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
In June 2007, the Department of Veterans Affairs partnered with SAMSHA and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to provide a veterans hotline to help vets in emotional crisis. Veterans who indicate that they are a U.S. military veteran by pressing one after dialing 1-800-273-TALK, are routed to the Veterans Hotline. This service caters to veteran-specific mental health care needs and helps connect vets to the VA Healthcare system.