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Feds move forward with plan for national 3-digit suicide hotline

With suicides on the rise, the U.S. government wants to make the national crisis hotline easier to reach (Source: “Gov't wants a new 911-like number just for suicide hotline,” Toledo Blade, Aug. 15, 2019).

Once implemented, people will just need to dial 988 to seek help. Currently, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline uses a 10-digit number, 800-273-TALK (8255). Callers are routed to one of 163 crisis centers, where counselors answered 2.2 million calls last year.

A law passed last year required the Federal Communications Commission to study assigning a three-digit number for suicide prevention, like 911 for emergencies or 311 for city services. The FCC said in a Wednesday report that there is “overwhelming support” for a three-digit number because it would be easier for distressed people to get help.