FCC approves 3-digit number for suicide prevention

The United States soon will have a three-digit number for people to call to connect with suicide prevention and mental health crisis counselors.

The Federal Communications Commission voted anonymously Thursday to make 988 the number people can call to be connected directly to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, which currently uses a 10-digit number -- 1-800-273-8255 (TALK).

Around 1.4 million people in the U.S. are estimated to attempt suicide every year. It's the second leading cause of death for people ages 10 to 34, the fourth leading among people 35 to 54 and the eighth leading for those 55 to 64, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

All phone service providers will be required to direct all 988 calls to the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by July 16, 2022, according to the FCC.


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