LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — A new three-digit number is being pushed for the suicide prevention hotline with the goal of making it easier for people to get help and reduce the stigma associated with mental health.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline currently uses a 10-digit number. Once the new number is implemented, callers would dial 988 — similar to the 911 number people call for emergency services.
The Federal Communications Commission was tasked with studying the possibility of a three-digit number for the vital hotline and found overwhelming support, but this is just the start of a months-long process to make it happen.
“In an age of political divisiveness, an issue like suicide prevention is something that we can all understand is a big problem that we can all get together and work to solve,” Sam Brinton, of the Trevor Project, said.
Counselors with the hotline answered 2.2 million calls last year, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that the country’s suicide rate has continued to climb over the past two decades.
From 1999 to 2016, the number of suicides increased in every state except for Nevada, according to the CDC.
If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of self harm, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Trained counselors are available 24 hours per day, seven days per week to help.
For more information about mental health care resources and support, The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) HelpLine can be reached Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. ET, at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.