988 Implementation Planning Committee


On July 16, 2020, the Federal Communications Commission adopted rules to establish 988 as the new, nationwide, 3-digit phone number for Americans in crisis to connect with suicide prevention and mental health crisis counselors. This new rule requires all phone service providers to direct 988 calls to the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by July 16, 2022.

As Colorado prepares for the transition, OBH has formed the 988 Implementation Planning Committee to advise OBH as it develops clear roadmaps for how it will address key coordination, capacity, funding, and communication issues in preparation for the launch of 988. The Committee has also established three work groups to help it address key questions around funding, capacity, and marketing. 

Group Date/Time Link/Phone Number to Join the Meeting
Full Committee
Funding & Sustainability

Promotion, Awareness and Education, and Accessibility
Call Center and System Capacity and Integration
Public Listening Sessions
Committee Members
Kelly Bowman Health Colorado, Inc.
Daryl Branson Public Utilities Commission
Sarah Brummet Office of Suicide Prevention, Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment
Judy Campbell Professional with Lived Experience
Krista Cavataio Rocky Mountain Health Plans
Jennifer Conrad Signal Behavioral Health Network
Lila Cummings Colorado Hospital Association
Andrew Dameron Denver 911
Melissa Eddleman Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing
Kate Fitch Public Health Professional with Lived Experience
Doyle Forrestal Colorado Behavioral Health Council
Christine Harms Schools Safety Resource Center
Hope Hyatt Colorado Mental Wellness Network
Moe Keller Mental Health Colorado
Abe Laydon Commissioner, Douglas County
Elizabeth Richards Beacon Health Options
Cheri Skelding Rocky Mountain Crisis Partners
Scott Snow Denver Police Department
Mandy Stollsteimer WestCO PSAP
Ana Vizoso Servicios de La Raza
Robert Werthwein, Chair Office of Behavioral Health, Colorado Department of Human Services
Anthony Young Association of Black Psychologists
Work Groups

Promotion, Awareness and Education, and Accessibility
Consistency in public messaging is critical at the national and state/territory level regarding 988, its distinction from 911 and the range of services 988 provides. Colorado must lay out a framework for how 988 will be marketed within the state. Colorado should ensure messaging is consistent with national / federal messaging about the range of services 988 is intended to provide. Marketing should convey messages of help, hope and healing; should promote the voices of persons with lived experiences with mental illness and suicide, and should include specific strategies for reaching LGBTQ youth and other populations considered high risk for suicide. All messaging should adhere to all standards for Safe and Effective suicide prevention communication.

Funding & Sustainability

Colorado must provide strategies for identifying and supporting funding streams which boost the financial stability of the call center(s) answering Lifeline calls. Colorado will decide how to actualize a strategy to sustainably fund the Lifeline member call center(s) answering 988 calls, texts and chats and follow-up services. Funding strategies may be diversified including, but not limited to:

  • The potential to raise 988 related fees from telecommunication users (similar to how many states fund 911 calls) 
  • Medicaid reimbursements 
  • Mental health block grant funds
  • Direct engagement with state legislative budget committees for 988 specific funding, 
  • Partnerships with stakeholder groups who may have the ability to contribute to 988 resources (e.g. United Way/211, private insurers, hospitals, philanthropic organizations)
Call Center and System Capacity and Integration Capacity building at the center answering 988 contacts must occur based on call, chat, text and follow-up volume growth projections. However, current call volume and capacity challenges must be addressed before 988 is nationally implemented on July 16, 2022. In partnership with the Lifeline, Colorado shall ensure that the Lifeline member center has the systems in place to maintain local resource and referral listings, as well as assure linkages to local community crisis services (including 911 PSAPs, mobile crisis teams and other outreach alternatives to law enforcement/EMS response).



Text - S.2661 National Suicide Hotline Designation Act of 2020

FCC Designates 988 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (July 16, 2020)

Press Release: Colorado begins planning for 988 suicide prevention number (March 17, 2021)

988 Geolocation Report — National Suicide Hotline Designation Act of 2020. Wireline Competition Bureau. (April 15, 2021)

CO Senate Bill 21-154 988 Suicide Prevention Lifeline Network (June 2021)

Press Release: CDHS Statement on 988 (October 22. 2021) Concerning new 10-digit dialing requirement for Colorado.

Colorado's 988 Crisis Hotline Enterprise Board of Directors

FCC Approves Text-to-988 Access to Suicide Prevention Lifeline (November 18, 2021)

SAMHSA 988 website and fact sheet (December 2021)

 Weigh In

Colorado Crisis Services logo

988 is expected to be fully operational by July 16, 2022. Coloradans may continue to call 1-844-493-TALK (8255) or text TALK to 38255 for 24/7 crisis support from Colorado Crisis Services. Visit coloradocrisisservices.org for more information.

  Work group expectations and guidelines


Christopher Miller
Community Programs Manager of Special Projects
Office of Behavioral Health