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988 will now offer a lifeline through American Sign Language, too

A man sitting inside a radio studio talks at a microphone and gestures with both hands.
Carlos Moreno
KCUR 89.3
Robbie Phillips, senior director of community services at University Health Robbie Phillips, talks about 988 response for the deaf community on KCUR's Up To Date on Sept. 19, 2023.

A year after the creation of 988, the suicide and crisis lifeline will now be accessible to deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals. Those who speak American Sign Language will soon have life saving intervention a phone call away.

In July 2022, the bulky 10-digit National Suicide and Crisis Hotline was shortened to 988. A year later, the line can now be accessed with American Sign Language.

DeafLEAD, an organization in Columbia, Missouri, that provides comprehensive support for deaf and hard of hearing individuals, will be one of the organizations providing this crisis support through 988.

DeafLEAD CEO Stephanie Logan says that her life goal has been to give back a small measure of the same support she received after she went deaf at 23.

"Providing equitable services for different cultures, different languages — it's not a privilege, it should be a right of all individuals," Logan said.

  • Dr. Stephanie Logan, CEO, DeafLEAD
  • Robbie Phillips, Senior Director of community services, University Health
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When I host Up To Date each morning at 9, my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. Reach me at steve@kcur.org or on Twitter @stevekraske.
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