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FCC Approves 988 for Suicide Hotlines

Mental health is always at the forefront of the national dialog. Many of us – myself included – deal with mental health issues. Around the holidays they can be exacerbated.

But there is good news out of the government (for once): The FCC unanimously approved the three digit number 988 being tied to suicide hotlines.

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If you’ve lived in the United States after 1970ish, you know that 911 is the universal emergency number. It’s so ingrained in culture that it even got it’s own TV show. Well, now we get a new easy number to learn: 988.

Congress must approve of or allocate funding for the number implementation – estimated around $570 million – but that cost might mean the world to the roughly 40,000+ Americans who die from suicide a year. Over a million more will make an attempt. A quicker, easier route to mental health might mean the difference between life and death for many people, especially at risk persons.

The Suicide Prevention Lifeline is currently 1-800-273-TALK (8255). It will soon also be available at 988. Though sadly no easier text number is planned at this point.