It’s pretty aggravating when you’re unable to receive calls on your phone – but, when the national 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline can’t take calls, the phone outage can be a life or death matter. On Thursday, Dec. 1, NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) staff were trying to get the word out that the suicide prevention line was down – and they were publicizing alternative means of communication.

Thankfully the lines are now open again and receiving phone calls.

Text and online chat services weren’t affected by the outage and those services continue uninterrupted.

According to a Friday, Dec. 2 press release from NCDHHS, callers to 988 are usually routed to call centers in their own state. However, for the time being, those calls are being routed to accredited backup centers across the country.

The State of North Carolina is an accredited backup center entity.

“Callers should be aware they may be speaking with a counselor in another state or in North Carolina,” the December 2 press release notes, adding, “This does not affect crisis support.”

State health officials are encouraging those with suicidal thoughts, in a crisis situation or in need of emotional support to call or text 988 or chat with a counselor at

Veterans can call 988 and then press 1.

The Suicide and Crisis Lifeline – which was once known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – is a network of trained suicide prevention workers stationed at over 200 crisis centers across the country. They provide round-the-clock service for those in crisis. The Lifeline is also set up to take calls and offer advice to those who are calling due to concern about a friend or family member believed to be considering suicide.