Calling a suicide prevention hotline will soon be as simple as dialing 911.
Earlier this week, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) submitted a report to Congress describing the best possible method of implementing a 3-digit phone number for the federally-funded National Suicide Prevention Hotline.
The 138-page report recommends that Congress designate 988 as the new dialing code to be used for a nationwide suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline, which “would likely make it easier for Americans in crisis to access potentially life-saving resources.”
The report was created in response to the National Suicide Hotline Improvement Act of 2018, which was approved in the House in a near unanimous 379-1 vote back in July 2018. It was then signed into effect by President Donald Trump the following month.
“We all know by heart to dial 911 during an emergency. We have fate and confidence that somebody who can help will be on the line. It shouldn’t be any different for someone in a mental health crisis,” said Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ) in support of the bill.
Once the report’s recommendation for the new hotline number is approved in the House and Senate, thousands of people are likely to benefit from the legislation.
“Crisis call centers have been shown to save lives,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. “This report recommends using a three-digit number to make it easier to access the critical suicide prevention and mental health services these call centers provide. I intend to move forward on this recommendation.
“In the meantime, my heart goes out to anyone facing a crisis. I hope they will contact 1-800-273-TALK for support today,” he added.
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