Skip to main content

Research and Evaluation Process and Proposals

988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline Data Access & Requests to Collaborate on Research (L-DAC)

The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline welcomes opportunities to collaborate on research projects with the goal of preventing suicides and mental health crises, and providing a pathway to well-being. In order to preserve our values, which include the ultimate benefit of crisis contacts/crisis centers and avoidance of any potential harm to them; the preservation of network operations; and a commitment to including a diverse range of voices and experiences in our work, we take very seriously requests for 988 Lifeline data and requests to collaborate on research projects.  

Research includes any form of systematic investigation (e.g., research development, studies/testing, evaluation) that is designed to contribute to generalizable knowledge. 

Criteria

988 Lifeline projects considered to be requests for data/research collaborations may include any of the following: 

  • Requests for call, chat, and/or text record information, crisis center practices, crisis center staffing information, etc.
  • Data collections of crisis center staff and/or individuals in crisis
    • Surveys, interviews, or focus groups with crisis center staff/individuals in crisis.
  • Clinical or behavioral interventions with crisis center staff/individuals in crisis. 

Formal evaluations of the 988 Lifeline conducted by university-based researchers have also collected various 988 Lifeline data in the past. These evaluations have been central to improving the quality of Lifeline’s service for nearly two decades, as well as establishing standards of effective care for crisis hotlines nationally and internationally. All of the research and evaluations conducted in collaboration with the 988 Lifeline follow strict data protocols established by the research institutions.

Current 988 data available online  

Selected 988 data regarding the number of individuals served through national telephone, chat, and text support is available online for research purposes. These performance metrics include information on the number of calls, chats, and texts routed, answered, and abandoned, average speed of answer time, and average contact time, on a monthly basis for the years 2022 (starting in July) to present year. Additionally, the 988 Lifeline has state and nation-based monthly reports dating back to July 2021. We encourage researchers to review these data and its potential utility for research projects before requesting restricted-access data. Please also note that 988 Lifeline staff are unable to provide technical or analytical support with regards to these data.

988 Lifeline restricted-access data (988 RAD)

The 988 RAD is a de-identified, time-series dataset composed of variables pertaining to 988 Lifeline calls, chats, and texts. These data will be available by request for users meeting certain eligibility criteria and are considered restricted because they contain more detailed information than what is available publicly. There are important considerations for researchers working with 988 RAD, and data should be treated with utmost care in order to avoid misinterpreting information, and/or identifying individuals served by the 988 Lifeline. Through the proposal application process detailed below, Vibrant Emotional Health (Vibrant) will evaluate the applicant’s ability to adhere to good research practices and conduct the proposed analyses/project. 

There are no costs to apply for the research process or access the dataset. Please note that Vibrant has limited capacity to provide technical and analytical support with 988 RAD.

Other research collaboration requests

All other requests to collaborate on research, as mentioned above (e.g., crisis interventions, surveys, and data collections), will need to be assessed by Vibrant on a case-by-case basis. In order to begin the collaboration review process, researchers are required to complete the proposal application detailed below.

How to Apply

To apply, you will need to submit a Research Proposal Form. Please prepare the following documents (to be uploaded using our form).

  1. Cover Letter on institutional/organizational letterhead
  2. Abstract (no longer than 350 words)
  3. Biosketch(es) (see sample format) for all staff who will have access to data
  4. Letter of Recommendation (for students only)
  5. Letter of support (for grant-funded applications only)

Proposals may be submitted at any time and will be reviewed in a timely manner according to the type of proposal received. More details regarding this process are provided below. Please note that submitting a proposal does not guarantee access to data or approval to collaborate on a research project; we highly recommend reading all of the details below for research planning purposes. Receipt of submission will be confirmed by Vibrant.

Eligibility to Apply

  • Requests must be for research purposes only (e.g., not for commercial or other purposes).
  • There are no restrictions on degrees earned (undergraduate and graduate-level students, including PhD candidates are eligible to apply – please visit Vibrant’s FAQ below regarding special instructions for student proposals).
  • Non-student requests must be from independent researchers holding a faculty appointment or research position at their institution, or a position within a research department or office within a larger organization or community organization. Per the CDC, research organizations can include institutes of higher education, government agencies, research foundations and non-profit research institutions. Independent research institutes that have close relationships with large institutions (e.g., universities) but are not part of the institution and operate under their own authority. Research includes conducting studies/producing reports with the intention to contribute to generalizable knowledge. Research organizations focus on conducting research and/or routinely conduct research.
  • Local, county, tribal, and state government employees are eligible to apply regardless of degrees earned or research position held as part of their official research responsibilities.
  • The research much have an intended public health impact, and should contribute to the understanding and ultimate prevention of suicide and mental health crises.
  • If the research will be linked with any other data that could potentially identify individuals who contacted the 988 Lifeline, the 988 Lifeline must receive a signed copy of the requester’s IRB approval. If the IRB application is still in progress, please indicate as such.
  • The requester must be willing to sign a data sharing agreement with Vibrant Emotional Health. Additionally, the requester must be willing to involve members of the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline Research & Evaluation team in any publications and/or products that arise from the research.

Proposal Review Process

The length of the proposal review process will depend on the proposal type. If the request is needed as part of a submission for a research grant (e.g. NIMH), Vibrant will review the proposal and respond within 4-6 weeks. If the proposal is an ad hoc data request for other research purposes or a new research project proposal, it will be reviewed along with any other proposals received on a quarterly basis. Proposals must be received by the first of either March, June, September, or December in order to be considered part of a quarterly review period. Decisions from quarterly reviews will be provided to applicants within 5-6 weeks into the quarter (schedule below).

Vibrant’s Quarterly Review Process

The review committee will assess the following when considering whether to approve the proposed project:

  • Compliance with the above eligibility criteria and proposal instructions. If proposals do not pass an initial compliance check, they will be denied. Revisions can be completed, resubmitted, and reviewed in a subsequent quarterly review period. 
  • Requests have a clear public health impact, and the research question can be feasibly answered through use of the requested data or project collaboration.
  • Process to protect the data and confidentiality of 988 Lifeline contacts is adequate and appropriate. 
  • The requesters have adequate qualifications and experience (themselves or through a mentor) to carry out the research.

The Research & Evaluation team will host quarterly office hours for prospective research partners. These will be held at 3 PM ET on the first Wednesday of the month preceding the quarterly proposal due date – for instance, if proposals are due Dec. 1, office hours will be held on the first Wednesday of November. Please email  to sign up for the office hours.

FAQ

Does Vibrant accept requests from students?

Show answer

How long does it take for Vibrant to review applications?

Show answer

Does Vibrant have data on…..?

Show answer

How does the Lifeline decide which proposals to accept?

Show answer

I would like to obtain data for a media project. What are my next steps?

Show answer

Does the Lifeline provide funding for research and evaluation?

Show answer

Can the Lifeline promote my external research?

Show answer

Can I refer individuals to the Lifeline as part of my research?

Show answer

Who can I contact if I have questions? 

Show answer