988 Rolls Out Across the Nation While Marcus Alert Continues to be Built Statewide
988 is the new three-digit number that routes callers to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. 988 is now active in Fairfax County and across the United States. When an individual calls or texts 988, they are connected to trained counselors who will listen, provide support, and connect them with necessary resources. Locally and statewide, Marcus Alert is a comprehensive crisis system that is continuing to develop. Marcus Alert will be composed of crisis call centers, mobile response teams (regional – operating 24/7 – and local) and crisis stabilization centers.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
- Dialing or texting 9-8-8 will connect you to behavioral health care and support 24 hours a day. A chat feature is also available. (Dialing the NSPL number, 1-800-273-TALK (8255), will connect you to support, too.)
- 9-8-8 is a direct connection to support for anyone experiencing behavioral health-related distress – whether that is thoughts of suicide, mental health or a substance use crisis.
- 9-8-8 offers 24/7 access to trained crisis counselors who can help people experiencing mental health-related distress. This type of distress includes:
- Thoughts of suicide
- Mental health or substance use crisis, or
- Any other kind of emotional distress
- The Commonwealth of Virginia continues to build capacity and infrastructure:
- Fairfax County is continuing to respond to community needs and expand crisis services.
9-8-8 is the new 3-digit national phone number that provides 24/7, free and confidential support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. It serves as a universal entry point so that no matter where you live in the United States, you can reach a trained crisis counselor who can help. 9-8-8 is now active across the United States, including here in Fairfax County. 9-8-8 operates through the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL).
In 2020, Congress designated a new 9-8-8 dialing code to operate through the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL). 9-8-8 comprises more than 200 locally operated crisis hotlines across the country. Here, in Fairfax County, 9-8-8 is operated by PRS, Inc.
The Commonwealth of Virginia tasked the Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Services (DBHDS) with developing a comprehensive crisis system. The system is commonly referred to as “Marcus Alert” and was codified in the Marcus David-Peters Act signed by the Governor in 2020. The Marcus Alert system will be composed of crisis call centers, mobile response teams (regional – operating 24/7 – and local) and crisis stabilization centers. The Marcus Alert system will be phased in across the Commonwealth by July 2026. The aim of the Marcus Alert is to elicit a behavioral health response to a behavioral health crisis rather than a law enforcement response. Enhanced community-based crisis services are part of the system that triages care based on need and resources available in the local community. The result will provide the right response at the right time for a behavioral health crisis.
ADDITIONAL LOCAL RESOURCES
- CSB Emergency Services, Open 24/7: 703-573-5679
- CSB Detox Services, Open 24/7: 703-502-7000
- Suicide Hotlines, Open 24/7: 988 or 703-527-4097, or Text “Connect” to 85511
- Peer Recovery Centers at four sites across the Fairfax County, including the Sharon Bulova Center. Call 1-800-374-4198 for services, hours, and locations
- Coordinated Services Planning (Emergency assistance for basic needs, food assistance, emergency shelter, etc.), Open M - F, 8:00 - 4:30 p.m., 703-222-0880
Contact for news media inquiries: CSB Communications Team, 703-324-7000.