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FCC approves new “988” phone number for suicide support

The Federal Communications Commission recently approved the designation of 988 as the phone number people can call when experiencing suicidal thoughts. Calls made to 988 will be directed to the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a national network of 163 crisis centers that is funded by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Currently, suicide support is available by calling 1-800-273-TALK and through online chats. In 2018, trained Lifeline counselors answered over 2.2 million calls and over 100,000 online chats.

The FCC proposal requires that all telecommunications carriers and interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service providers make any network changes within the next 18 months. Stay tuned…

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