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FCC Moving Forward with 9-8-8 as 3-Digit Suicide Prevention Number

BY: Josh Weaver
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This morning, the Federal Communications Commission announced its plans to finalize a two-year phase-in of ‘988’ as the new, nationwide, 3-digit phone number for suicide prevention. The rules, if adopted by the Commission at its July 16 Open Meeting, would require all phone service providers to begin directing all 988 calls to the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by July 16, 2022.  

Statement from Sam Brinton (they/them pronouns), Vice President of Advocacy and Government Affairs for The Trevor Project:

“The Trevor Project commends the FCC for moving forward with the implementation of 9-8-8 on an efficient two-year timeline. Suicide remains the second leading cause of death among young people, and LGBTQ youth are at increased risk. Americans in crisis cannot wait. We also applaud the FCC’s continued support for specialized services for LGBTQ youth. Moving forward, we call on the U.S. House of Representatives to pass the National Suicide Hotline Implementation Act, which includes a number of important provisions including requirements for LGBTQ cultural competency training for existing counselors and the establishment of an Integrated Voice Response option for LGBTQ youth to reach specialized care. It has never been more clear that our national mental health infrastructure requires reinforcement and innovation to meet the growing need. We look forward to working with the FCC and Congress to meet the challenge and save lives.”

Research shows that LGBTQ youth are more than four times as likely to attempt suicide than their peers. The Trevor Project estimates that more than 1.8 million LGBTQ youth between the ages of 13 and 24 in the U.S. seriously consider suicide each year. In the organization’s 2019 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, 87% of LGBTQ youth said it was important to them to reach out to a crisis intervention organization that focuses on LGBTQ youth.

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