UPDATE: Three-Digit Number for Suicide Prevention Coming Soon
With World Suicide Prevention Day being today (September 10th), I felt I should give an update on this story of a new 9-1-1 type phone number for people who may need that type of help. Back in December, the FCC approved a proposal to designate a three-digit number to reach the National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 988. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline stresses that the new number, 988, is not currently active, and to please continue using/sharing 800-273-TALK (8255).
Why is it not implemented yet? Time and money. According to CNN, when the proposal was unanimously put forward, it set an 18-month time frame to get the new number active and working with an ad campaign to help spread the word. They expected costs of the new number, including costs for call-center staffing and public awareness campaigns looks to be $570 million the first year and $175 million the second year, but the benefits outweigh the costs.
An update from AARP.org, states that the current plan is to get the new three-digit number implemented by ALL phone carriers by July 2022. Right now, the process is on going, but it gets a little further everyday. As of 2018, the national network was made up of 163 locations, helping people. 2.2 million calls and more than over 100,000 online chats lending an ear, and a helping hand to those in need of someone, anyone to listen.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has commented how "When it comes to saving lives, time is of the essence, and we believe that 988 can be activated more quickly than other possible three-digit codes. In addition, 988 has an echo of the 911 number we all know as an emergency number.”
For more information on FCC's proposal, check out FCC.gov. If you or someone you know is having a rough time about anything, please send them to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website, or call 800-273-TALK (8255). No matter how you may feel, remember, you are not alone and we're all in this life together!