WASHINGTON D.C. (NEXSTAR) – A new lifeline for people considering suicide could soon be a reality as members of Congress and the FCC push for a new emergency number similar to 911 that would help people having a crisis.
“I want to see a situation where every single American who is struggling can find someone in that moment who can help,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said.
Officials are hoping 988 will soon save lives and give suicidal people an easy-to-use lifeline.
The CDC says on average about 47,000 Americans die from suicide every year and another 1.4 million attempt it.
Officials say the current dedicated suicide hotline (1-800-273-8255) is not well known or easy to remember.
“We’ve had 911 for a long time, we’re familiar with that as Americans but these other ideas, these other services like a 988 program, is essential,” Americans United for Life, Tom Shakely said. “It doesn’t require having a business card, it doesn’t require having a pamphlet, you don’t need to have anything with you, you just remember those numbers.”
Congressional legislation to make the change already has bi-partisan support.