The San Diego Access & Crisis Line (ACL)           1-888-724-7240

Confidential and free of charge, the San Diego Access and Crisis Line (ACL) serves as the local crisis call center and is operated 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The ACL offers crisis support and helps facilitate connections to behavioral health resources for you or your loved one, including:

ACL webpage photo
  • Suicide prevention and crisis intervention
  • Mobile crisis response services
  • Alcohol and substance use referrals
  • Mental health referrals
  • Community resources
  • Other supportive services

Calls are answered by experienced counselors who provide immediate help for the support you need. Language interpreter services enable the ACL to assist in over 200 languages within seconds. Live chat is also available Monday through Friday, 4pm-10pm, through the ACL website or The ACL is part of the national 988 network of crisis call centers. Those living in or visiting San Diego County can call the ACL at 1-888-724-7240, or 988, for support and help navigating services. and connections to services. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

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  • How is the ACL different from 988?

    988 is the national dialing code for connecting people to the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. The lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in a suicidal, mental health and/or substance use crisis, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in the United States.

    Calls made to 988 are connected to a crisis call center based on the phone number the call is made from.

    Calls made from a San Diego County area code (e.g., 619, 858, 760, or 442) will be routed directly to the ACL.

    Calls made from other area codes will be routed to the local crisis call center based on the caller’s area code. Call center staff will work to deescalate the situation and connect the caller to the crisis call center closest to their current location for local services if needed.

    Those living in or visiting San Diego County can reach out directly to the ACL at 1-888-724-7240 – or 988 – for support and connections to services.

  • What is the difference between ACL, 988, 911, and 211?
    • The ACL and 988 provide support for people experiencing a mental health or substance use issue, including suicidal thoughts or feelings. 988 allows for easier access to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline network.
    • 911 is utilized for emergencies with a focus on dispatching Emergency Medical Services, fire, and police as needed.
    • 211 provides non-emergency health and social service assistance information and referrals.
  • Who can call the ACL?

    Anyone struggling with a substance use or mental health issue, such as depression, anxiety, suicide, loss, or anger, can call the ACL to speak to a representative. Family members, friends, or professionals seeking advice and resources for someone they are concerned about can also call.

    Contact the ACL if you:

    • Are unsure where to start
    • Need to talk to a professional who cares
    • Feel like you cannot cope with life
    • Are looking for community resources
    • Have questions about local behavioral health programs or services
    • Are concerned someone you know might hurt themselves
    • Feel like you might be in danger of hurting yourself or others
    • Have concerns about a loved one’s mental health and need assistance getting help
  • What happens if I call the ACL?

    You will self-select what kind of service you need by entering the corresponding numerical prompt. Callers will hear a greeting message while their call is being routed. A professional counselor will answer the phone, listen to the caller, ask questions to better understand the situation, and provide resources and support based on the caller’s needs.

  • Who will I speak to if I call the ACL?

    You will speak to an ACL representative who is a clinician with expertise in mental health and/or substance use. They are trained to respond to behavioral health-related questions and crisis situations and can provide compassionate and knowledgeable support to callers.

  • Do I have to give personal or demographic information as the caller? Can I just ask about my situation?

    The ACL will ask for basic demographic information at the beginning of the call, but you are not required to give this information and can decline to do so. The counselor will still be able to proceed with the call and assist you.

  • How will information I provide be used?

    The information you provide will be used primarily to assess your need and provide the most appropriate guidance and resources. Some de-identified information like age, ethnicity, and referral types are part of reporting needs but no protected health information is disclosed. 

    Calls are confidential with the exception of limits to confidentiality if you are in danger of hurting yourself or others. 

  • What if I or the person I call about is undocumented?

    The ACL can still assist the callers and provide appropriate referrals regardless of documentation status. 

  • Will my call be recorded?

    Yes, calls may be recorded for training and quality assurance purposes only.

  • Will I get in trouble if I call the ACL and I end up not needing services?

    No. ACL clinicians are trained to ask a series of questions designed to deploy the right services. Don’t hesitate to call if you think there might be a need. 

  • Will the ACL be able to answer calls for people who are deaf or hard of hearing?

    The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline currently serves TTY users either through their preferred relay service or by dialing 711 then 1-800-273-8255. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline also offers services through chat and text and is in the process of expanding to video phone service to better serve deaf or hard of hearing individuals seeking help through the Lifeline/988.

  • What is considered a behavioral health crisis?

    A behavioral health crisis or emergency, also known as a psychiatric emergency, is a situation in which a person’s thoughts, feelings, or behaviors may lead them to hurt themselves or others or put them at risk of being unable to care for themselves or function in a healthy manner. A person in crisis may experience feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, or a sense of a loss of control. These feelings may be initiated or worsened by substance use.

    The following list includes some common signs that may be associated with a mental health or substance use-related crisis: 

    • Changes in mood or behaviors that cause concern
    • Thoughts of self-harm or suicide
    • Sudden changes to hygiene and self-care practices
    • Unusual thoughts, sounds, or visions that cause fear or distress  
    • Sudden onset or increase of substance use
    • Feeling helpless or hopeless
    • Sense of a loss of control over thoughts, feelings, emotions, or behaviors

    This list is not exhaustive or applicable to all behavioral health crises. If you have concerns about yourself or someone you know or observe, call the ACL at 1-888-724-7240. Every situation is unique and often requires a tailored response. ACL representatives can help connect you to the right resources or response for your specific situation. If experiencing a medical emergency or if you need a law enforcement response, please call 911.