CHARLOTTE, N.C. — To combat suicides across the country the Federal Communications Commission has created the three-digit phone number, 9-8-8, to reach the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, according to a news release.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said “We believe 988 — which has an echo of the 911 number we all know as an emergency number — will help people access mental health services,” in a press release.
In a recommendation to Congress in 2019, the FCC says the shorter number will make it easier for Americans to access this life-saving resource during times of crisis, as well as reduce the stigma around mental health issues.
The FCC report also says amidst COVID-19 they have seen an increase in callers to the hotline.
All Voice over IP service providers, and telecommunication carriers will be required to use the new number nationwide by July 16th, 2022, according to the press release.