U.S. Will Have Three-Digit Number for Suicide Prevention Hotline

FRIDAY, Dec. 13, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- A new three-digit number in the United States to contact a suicide prevention hotline is being created by federal officials.

People will just need to dial 988 to reach a suicide prevention hotline, similar to calling 911 for emergencies, the Associated Press reported.

The goal is to make it easier for people to get help. Currently, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline uses a 10-digit number, 800-273-TALK (8255).

"The three-digit number is really going to be a breakthrough in terms of reaching people in a crisis," Dwight Holton, CEO of Lines for Life, a suicide prevention nonprofit, told the AP. "No one is embarrassed to call 911 for a fire or an emergency. No one should be embarrassed to call 988 for a mental health emergency."

There will be a months-long comment period before the Federal Communications Commission orders implementation of the 988 number for mental health emergencies.

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