U.S. regulators are setting up a new three-digit number to reach a suicide prevention hotline.
Advocates say that could help reduce the stigma associated with seeking help by equating mental health emergencies with fires and crimes. Similar to 911 for emergencies, people will just need to dial 988 once it’s implemented.
Currently, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline uses a 10-digit number, 800-273-TALK. Callers are routed to one of 163 crisis centers. Thursday’s vote by the Federal Communications Commission starts the months-long process to set up 988.
The next step is a comment period before the FCC moves to an order.