Jul 16, 2020 - Health

FCC poised to establish 988 as suicide hotline number

A person holding a phone.

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The Federal Communications Commission is expected on Thursday to designate 988 as the new nationwide number to reach a suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline.

Why it matters: The change should make it easier for Americans to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which connects to a network of local crisis centers. Surveys and experts suggest a rise in people undergoing mental health crises since the start of the pandemic.

Yes, but: The 988 code will not be active immediately after the FCC votes on establishing it at a Thursday morning meeting.

  • Phone companies must implement the change by July 16, 2022, according to a draft of the agency's order.

If you have any thoughts of self-harm or suicide, please pick up the phone right now and call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

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