National hotline

9-8-8 National Hotline Now Available for Arlington Residents – Official Government Site of Arlington County Virginia

Posted on July 19, 2022

A new 9-8-8 crisis and 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.

By dialing 9-8-8 or the existing NSPL number, 1-800-273-TALK (8255), you will be connected to behavioral health care and support around the clock. Virginia continues to be invested in building capacity to improve community crisis services. Further updates will be provided in the coming months.

What do you want to know

  • You can call or text 9-8-8 or use live chat at
  • The services are intended for mental health and addictions support.
  • 9-8-8 provides someone to talk to and referrals to other services if needed.
  • Currently, 9-8-8 routes calls to local help centers based on the caller’s area code, not their location in the community. In the future, geolocation 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 constructed. For a life-threatening emergency, dial 9-1-1.

And after

The Department of Human Services is preparing to staff its 24/7 Crisis Response Center (CIC), with an expected deployment in late fall. The CIC provides crisis assessment and stabilization in a therapeutic environment.

National behavioral health workforce shortages present a challenge for the development of crisis services. The vision for Arlington County is that the regional crisis call center will serve as a mobile dispatch center for Northern Virginia’s public and private crisis response providers and provide control-like navigation of the air traffic. This will be an evolving process over the next year.

Additional crisis resources

There are many ways to get behavioral health support in Arlington:

Regional Community Response to Crises (“RC2”)

  • Services available: Crisis stabilization and prevention, including screenings, assessments, psychiatric services, case management, post-discharge follow-up, care coordination and safety planning.
  • Who is eligible: Anyone experiencing a mental health and/or addiction emergency that puts them at risk of hospitalization.
  • How to access: Call 844-627-4747 Where 571-364-7390 to access telephone, videoconference or in-person services.
  • Availablity: Run by the National Counseling Group and staffed with counselors 24/7.
  • Website:


  • Services available: Crisis stabilization and prevention, including needs assessments, development of crisis or behavior plans, referral to ongoing services, home support, and 30-day residential stabilization.
  • Who qualifies: People with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (eg, autism spectrum disorders, Down syndrome) in behavioral emergencies.
  • How to access: Call 855-897-8278 to access telephone or in-person services.
  • Availablity: Operated by Easterseals and staffed 24/7.
  • Website:

Emergency services

  • Services available: Rapid assessment, intervention and stabilization for mental health emergencies, including immediate supportive counseling to relieve distress and prevent crisis escalation, development of a safety plan to prevent injury to self and/or others, connection to resources and peer support (i.e. with lived experience).
  • Who is eligible: People of all ages experiencing a mental health emergency.
  • How to access: Call 703-228-5160.
  • Availablity: Operated by the Department of Social Services and staffed 24/7.
  • Website:

Crisis Intervention Center (CIC)

  • Services available: Short-term services in a community setting, including assessment, observation, 23-hour stabilization, de-escalation, peer counseling and referral to other support services.
  • Who is eligible: People of all ages experiencing a mental health emergency.
  • How to access: Call 703-228-5160.
  • Availablity: Operated by Department of Social Services staff and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, as staff permit.

Crisis Stabilization Units (CSU)

  • Services available: Small regional facilities offering diversion or reduction of psychiatric hospitalization, with services such as crisis intervention and stabilization, medical detox, medication assessment and management, psychiatric assessment, counselling, wellness and recovery activities, life skills assistance, service coordination and discharge planning.
  • Who qualifies: Adults living with a mental health emergency.
  • How to access: Referrals should be made through Arlington Emergency Services by calling 703-228-5160.
  • Availablity: Emergency services are available 24/7; beds are shared between jurisdictions in Northern Virginia.