FCC to require texts sent to 988 to be routed to National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by July 2022
Anyone who is having a mental or emotional crisis will soon be able to dial three digits to get help 24/7.
The Federal Communications Commission voted Thursday to require text messages sent to the number 988 to be routed to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by July 16, 2022.
Phone carriers are also implementing routing calls to 988 to the hotline.
John Halligan lost his 13-year-old son Ryan to suicide in 2003 after he was bullied in school.
He says that young people are impulsive and they don't realize they have unlimited options.
"So they go down this narrow thought path and end up doing what my son did," Halligan says. "So I think this is great, I think this is going to increase the opportunity to ask for help."
Executive Director of Response Crisis Center Meryl Cassidy says people need to get appropriate help for a medical health risk emergency.
"You don't need the police in most cases," Cassidy says. "You need a crisis counselor who can help de-escalate the crisis in a moment."
The three-digit number for the National Suicide Lifeline comes as suicide is a growing public health problem with more than 45,000 suicides in the United States in 2020.