The need to seek help when having suicidal thoughts is not just critical. It's literally life or death.

Currently, the National Suicide Hotline telephone number for those in need of help is 800-273-TALK (8255). Callers are routed to one of 163 crisis centers. Counselors responded to 2.2 million calls to that number last year.

That's a lot of digits to dial for such a crucial service when someone is in distress and every second counts, so the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is about to act  They are working on implementing a 3-digit suicide hotline number, similar to 911.

A law was passed last year to require this and once it's in place, users of the suicide hotline will simply dial 988.

The FCC said there is overwhelming support for this changeover and now it's going to happen. Chairman Ajit Pai said

a shorter, simpler suicide hotline number could be a game-changer

The FCC is going to need $50 million more a year to implement the new number due to increased call volume and the need for more operators, but it's most certainly worth it if it saves lives. There's no timetable on the target date of activation for 988, but we will update you on it, and it will take several months. In the meantime, the original number 800-273-TALK (8255) remains, for those who need it.


[Via WeAreIowa]


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