FCC Suggests ‘988’ As New Suicide Prevention Hotline – Do You Support the Change?
Should ‘988’ call the Suicide Prevention Hotline?
by Causes | 9.10.19
What’s the story?
- “988” would become the new number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, replacing the current 10-digit number, if a Federal Communications Commission recommendation is enacted.
- And coinciding with World Suicide Prevention Day, Facebook announced on September 10th that it’s making a series of policy changes aimed at tightening rules around self-harm images while also encouraging healthy dialogues with those dealing with suicidal feelings.
What are the numbers?
- The current phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. The FCC said that number received 2 million calls in 2018.
- In 2017, 47,173 people in the United States died by suicide.
- Globally, someone dies every 40 seconds by suicide.
What are people saying?
- “There is a suicide epidemic in this country, and it is disproportionately affecting at-risk populations, including our Veterans and LGBTQ youth,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement.
“Crisis call centers have been shown to save lives. This report recommends using a three-digit number to make it easier to access the critical suicide prevention and mental health services these call centers provide.”
- Last year, President Donald Trump signed the National Suicide Hotline Improvement Act into law, directing the FCC to examine the feasibility of designating a three-digit dialing code — like 911 — for a national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline system.
- Those who oppose the 988 number argue that, based on the two million people who called last year, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s current 1-800 number works for people who want to reach it—and changing the number after years of publicizing it could create confusion.
What do you think?
Should the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline be changed to 988? Take action and tell your reps, then share your thoughts below.
If you or someone you know is suffering from suicidal thoughts, know you’re not alone. Confidential help is available for free at 1-800-273-8255. Or chat online here.
(Photo Credit: iStock / ventdusud)
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