FCC Seeks Comment on Establishing 988 Suicide Crisis Hotline

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The FCC has announced that it has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking comment on the creation of a new, nationwide 3-digit number for suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline. According to the new release, the National Suicide Hotline Improvement Act of 2018 authorized the Commission to examine and report on the technical feasibility of designating a short, easy-to-remember dialing code to access resources. Specifically, the Commission is proposing the designation of “988” as the new national, short dialing code for contacting the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, a national network of 163 crisis centers that is funded by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The FCC is tasked with working with SAMHSA and the Department of Veterans Affairs to create the short dialing code and improve access to mental health resources. Today, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline is available by calling 1-800-273-TALK, and the hotline’s counselors answer on an annual basis over 2.2 million calls and 100,000 online chats.

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