Written by Christina Keller, MS, LMFT
In July of this year the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) unanimously voted to finalize 9-8-8 as the three-digit number individuals in the United States can call for the 24/7 national hotline. This transition is set to start by July 16, 2022. Currently, the hotline is accessible by the 10-digit number, 1-800-273-8255 (TALK).
The new three-digit number is designed to be easier for people to remember, similar to 9-1-1 for emergencies. National and local crisis centers have seen an increase in mental health crises during the pandemic. Simplifying the process to access emergency services may help save lives. Despite the momentous impact the FCC decision will have for individuals, the FCC’s decision only applies to voice services. Text services were not included in the decision. Given that texting is a preferred method of communication for some individuals, particularly teenagers, not including a text service option may leave out some of our most vulnerable individuals.
Currently the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline does offer a chat portal on its website. There are also other text service options available such as the Veterans Crisis Line (838255) and the Crisis Text Line (741741).
For additional information, visit:
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
- Crisis Text Line – https://www.crisistextline.org/
Make the Connection (Veteran Assistance) – https://www.maketheconnection.net/