UNITED STATES—On Thursday, July 23, The Federal Communications Commision approved a shorter number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to be used in 2022.
The Suicide Prevention Lifeline, currently reachable at 1-800-273-8255, will additionally use 988 starting on July 16, 2022.
Prior to the vote which approved this measure, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai stated:
“My hope is that by establishing a government-backed 988 suicide and mental health three-digit dialing code, on par with the 911 dialing code all Americans know for emergencies, we will send a powerful signal that there is nothing shameful about seeking help in times of crisis. That it’s a sign of strength, not one of weakness. We will let people know that they are not alone.”
Commenting on the FCC’s refusal to incorporate texting into suicide prevention, Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel stated:
“As we confront the rise in suicide by teenagers across the country, we should acknowledge that texting is their primary form of communication. Voice service has its benefits, but it is not native for most young people.”
According to the Suicide Prevention Lifeline website, suicide is the second leading cause of death for young people between 10 to 24.
While the hotline does not offer a texting service, it has a chat portal on its website. Additionally, the separate organization Crisis Text Line connects people in crisis to counselors, accessible by texting HOME to 741741.
To get help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to 741741.