In two years, individuals in suicidal crisis seeking help will have a number that's easy to remember and quick to dial to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
At its July open meeting Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission's five leaders unanimously voted to finalize 988 as the three-digit number Americans can dial and be directed to the 24/7 national hotline.
Callers currently reach the hotline by phoning the 10-digit number: 1-800-273-8255 (TALK).
But with the FCC's vote to adopt a final rule Thursday, phone service providers will begin the transition process to implement the 988 number nationwide by July 16, 2022.
Even after 988 is active, callers will still be able to reach the hotline through the original 10-digit number. While the lifeline does not offer a texting service but has a chat portal on its website. The FCC said it could revisit the issue if the lifeline develops a text option.
During the transition to 988, Americans who need help should continue to contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by calling 1-800-273-8255 (1-800-273-TALK) and through online chats. Veterans and Service Members may reach the Veterans Crisis Line by pressing 1 after dialing, chatting online at www.veteranscrisisline.net, or texting 838255.