Americans will be able to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline with an easy-to-remember number.
Earlier this month the Federal Communications Commission unanimously finalized 9-8-8 as the new digits. Service providers will need to direct 9-8-8 calls to the suicide lifeline by this time in 2022.
The FCC said the number will make it easier for those in crisis to get the help they need. Suicide has been among the leading causes of death in the country since 2018.
Salina Senator Jerry Moran and Colorado Senator Cory Gardner introduced the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act last year that would designate 9-8-8 as the suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline. The current National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and Veterans Crisis line is 10-digits, which is a barrier to Americans in crisis seeking support. This legislation unanimously passed the Senate in May.
Moran said “this three-digit number, 9-8-8, will serve as the new national suicide and mental health crisis hotline number, connecting callers in need of help with experts who can offer resources and hope to make it through a mental health crisis. As suicide is on the rise among groups such as farmers and veterans, this easy-to-access number is vital for the health of thousands of Americans, and I commend the FCC for quickly taking this step to offer Americans greater access to life-saving support.”
During the transition to 9-8-8, Americans who need help should continue to contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by calling 1-800-273-8255 (1-800-273-TALK). Veterans and service members may reach the Veterans Crisis Line by pressing 1 after dialing, chatting online at www.veteranscrisisline.net, or texting 838255.