FCC to vote to change suicide prevention hotline to only 3 numbers


WASHINGTON, D.C. — A vote could make the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline much easier to access.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is set to vote Thursday to change the number to a new, three-digit one: 988. The current hotline is 1-800-273-8255 (TALK). The Commission will vote on this proposal at a public meeting.

Last month, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai proposed the change after various mental health advocates encouraged shortening the number to make it easier to remember.

“The suicide rate in the United States is at its highest level since World War II, and designating 988 as the suicide prevention and mental health hotline would be a major boost for our nation’s suicide prevention efforts,” said Pai. “Awareness of this resource—including how memorable the number is—should make a real difference in saving lives.”

The proposal would also require that all phone companies transmit all calls to 988 to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and through online chats.

If Thursday’s vote is approved, a public comment period will open. The FCC will use these comments to help determine how to best proceed with the change.

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