FCC proposes a three-digit suicide prevention hotline

Kim Glovas
November 20, 2019 - 4:30 pm

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A movement is underway to create a new three-digit number to combat suicide, and the Federal Communications Commission is considering the move. 

A conference on suicide prevention and mental health was held earlier this week in Washington D.C., and FCC Chairman Ajit Pai used the forum to talk about one tool to prevent suicide: A new three-digit number, similar to 911, which would be a quick way for those at risk to get help fast. 

The number is 988.

"When people get assistance, they are less likely to die by suicide. In one review, for instance, suicidal individuals who reached out to lifeline crisis centers were surveyed, and 99% of them reported that the call stopped them from killing themselves," he said.

He said more than half a million LGBTQ young people will consider suicide this year, a rate three times higher than straight people in the same age group. And he says 20 veterans commit suicide every day. 

The FCC is expected to vote on 988 in December.