FCC proposes 3 digit number for suicide hotline

November 20, 2019 - 11:55 am

The FCC proposed to begin the rulemaking process of establishing a new, nationwide suicide prevention and mental health hotline.

The new number, 9-8-8, would shorten the current number, 1-800-273-8255 (TALK).

The Commission will vote on the proposal at a public meeting on Dec. 12.

The FCC’s proposal would designate the three digit code as the national code for the hotline.

It would also require that all phone companies transmit all calls to 9-8-8 to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.

The Lifeline is a national network of 163 crisis centers that are funded by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Calls to the Lifeline are routed from anywhere in the U.S. to the closest certified crisis center.

In 2018, trained Lifeline counselors answered over 2 million calls and over 100,000 online chats.

If the proposed Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is adopted by a vote of the full Commission at its Dec. 12 meeting, the commission will begin taking public comment on the proposal. 

Following review of that public record, the commission will decide how to proceed with final rules to formally designate 9-8-8 as the nationwide phone number for suicide prevention and mental health support. 

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