The FCC has begun formal rulemaking on 988 — a three-digit number that would allow people to connect with crisis centers in times of a mental health emergency much like they can connect with first responders when using 911 for a general emergency.
From Yahoo News:
Currently, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline uses a 10-digit number, 800-273-TALK (8255). That number routes callers to one of 163 crisis centers, where counselors answered 2.2 million calls last year.
“The three-digit number is really going to be a breakthrough in terms of reaching people in a crisis,” said Dwight Holton, CEO of Lines for Life, a suicide prevention nonprofit. “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.”
The rulemaking is the next step in the process which began in 2018 through federal statute. Additional steps include a comment period on the timeline for implementation.
Read the full article in Yahoo News to learn more.