9-8-8 National Hotline Now Available for Arlington Residents

Published on July 19, 2022

A new 9-8-8 crisis and support hotline is now active across the United States, including here in Arlington County.

In 2020, Congress designated a new 9-8-8 dialing code to operate through the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL) network, which has more than 200 locally operated and funded crisis lines across the country. PRS, Inc. operates the local network in Arlington.

Dialing either 9-8-8 or the existing NSPL number, 1-800-273-TALK (8255), will connect you to behavioral health care and support 24 hours a day. Virginia continues to be invested in building capacity to enhance community-based crisis services. Further updates will be provided in the upcoming months.

What You Need to Know

  • You can call or text 9-8-8 or use the online chat at www.988lifeline.org.
  • Services are for mental health and substance abuse support.
  • 9-8-8 provides someone to talk to and referrals to other services as needed.
  • Currently, 9-8-8 routes calls to local support centers based on the caller’s area code and not their location in the community. In the future, geolocator features will be added for more localized routing.
  • 9-8-8 is not like 9-1-1 in that the dispatch function has not yet been built out. For a life-threatening emergency call 9-1-1.

What’s Next

The Department of Human Services is moving to staff its Crisis Intervention Center (CIC) 24 hours a day and seven days a week, with an anticipated rollout of late fall. The CIC offers assessment and crisis stabilization in a therapeutic environment.

National workforce shortages in the field of behavioral health present a challenge to the development of crisis services. The vision for Arlington County is that the Regional Crisis Call Center will serve as the mobile dispatch hub for Northern Virginia’s public and private crisis response providers and deliver air traffic control-type navigation. This will be an evolving process over the next year.

Additional Crisis Resources

There are many ways to obtain behavioral health care support in Arlington:

 Community Regional Crisis Response (“CR2”)

  • Available services: Crisis stabilization and prevention, including screenings, assessments, psychiatric services, case management, post-discharge follow-up, care coordination and safety planning.
  • Who qualifies: Anyone experiencing a mental health and/or substance abuse emergency that puts them at risk of hospitalization.
  • How to access: Call 844-627-4747 or 571-364-7390 to access phone, video conferencing or in-person services.
  • Availability: Operated by the National Counseling Group and staffed by counselors 24/7.
  • Website: www.cr2crisis.com


  • Available services: Crisis stabilization and prevention, including include needs assessments, developing crisis or behavioral plans, referrals to ongoing services, home-based support and 30-day residential stabilization.
  • Who qualifies: Individuals with an intellectual and/or developmental disability (e.g., autism spectrum disorders, Down’s Syndrome) experiencing a behavioral health emergency.
  • How to access: Call 855-897-8278 to access phone or in-person services.
  • Availability: Operated by Easterseals and staffed 24/7.
  • Website: www.easterseals.com/NCVA/our-programs/adult-services/va-reach-northern-region-5

Emergency Services

  • Available services: Rapid assessment, intervention and stabilization for mental health emergencies, including immediate supportive counseling to relieve distress and prevent the crisis from worsening, development of a safety plan to prevent harm to self and/or others, connection to resources and peer support (i.e., individuals with lived experience).
  • Who qualifies: Individuals of any age experiencing a mental health emergency.
  • How to access: Call 703-228-5160.
  • Availability: Operated by the Department of Human Services and staffed 24/7.
  • Website: www.arlingtonva.us/mental-health

Crisis Intervention Center (CIC)

  • Available services: Short-term services in a community-based setting, including assessment, observation, 23-hour stabilization, de-escalation, peer counseling and referral to other supportive services.
  • Who qualifies: Individuals of any age experiencing a mental health emergency.
  • How to access: Call 703-228-5160.
  • Availability: Operated by Department of Human Services staff and available 24/7 as staffing allows.

Crisis Stabilization Units (CSUs)

  • Available services: Small, regional facilities providing a diversion or step-down from in-patient psychiatric hospitalization, with services such as crisis intervention and stabilization, medical detoxification, medication evaluation and management, psychiatric evaluation, counseling, wellness and recovery activities, assistance with daily living skills, service coordination and discharge planning.
  • Who qualifies: Adults experiencing a mental health emergency.
  • How to access: Referrals must be made through Arlington’s Emergency Services by calling 703-228-5160.
  • Availability: Emergency Services is available 24/7; beds are shared between Northern Virginia jurisdictions.  

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