It may take a year to implement, but The Federal Communications Commission is setting up a new 3-digit suicide crisis line: 988.
The new phone line is for those suffering with suicidal thoughts.
The goal is to make it easier for people to reach out for support and help, similar to how we use 911. It’s also to help alleviate the stigma associated with mental health issues.
Right now, calls are made to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.
The new 3-digit hotline will reroute the national network of more than 150 crisis centers, which is funded by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). More than 2 million calls were made to counselors last year alone.
The decision comes as suicide rates have increased across the U.S. over the past 20 years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suicides have dramatically increased – by more than 30%.
Suicide rates are higher with at risk populations, such as veterans and the LGBTQ community.
Advocates say more than 20 veterans die by suicide every day and more than a half million LGBTQ youth will attempt suicide this year.
The new proposal requires that all telecommunications carriers and interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service providers make, within 18 months, any network changes necessary to ensure that users can dial 988 to reach the Lifeline.
This article was created by Project Forgive, a non-religious, non-partisan 501c3 educational organization.
Our approach is unique. Our mission is to impact children’s access to grow, learn and play. Rather than focus on the children directly, we impact their environment through those who touch their lives on a daily basis: such as probation officers, teachers, parents, and community leaders. We do this through free educational resources, leadership training such as our progressive and popular tool “Accepting the Apology You’ll Never Receive,” and through our social reach of millions across the globe.