FCC votes to let people text 988 to reach suicide prevention hotline

The Federal Communications Commission voted unanimously Thursday to require text messages sent to the number 988 to be sent to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

The agency voted last year to let people call the same number to reach the service. 

“The bottom line is that it shouldn't matter if you make a voice call or send a text message, because we should connect people in crisis to the resources they need no matter how they communicate,” Chairwoman Jessica RosenworcelJessica RosenworcelPragmatic bipartisanship – not hard left intolerance – is Democrats' surest path back to power AT&T, Verizon propose limits to 5G to break regulatory impasse Hillicon Valley — Presented by Ericsson — House passes Biden plan with 0M for cyber MORE said during the agency’s open meeting on Thursday.

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Until 988 works via both call and text starting July 16, 2022, Americans seeking help should continue to call 1-800-273-TALK. 

The implementation of a three digit number for reaching the hotline comes as suicide numbers remain high.

There were more than 45,000 suicide deaths in the US during 2020, according to provisional data published this month by the National Center for Health Statistics.