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FCC Unanimously Approves 2-Year Phase-In of 988

BY: Kinzi Sparks

The Trevor Project applauds the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)’s unanimous decision today to designate 988 as the new three-digit dialing code for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. This FCC order requires that, within two years, all phone service providers will route 988 calls to the Lifeline, an important step to increasing accessibility for suicide prevention and crisis intervention services and addressing the disproportionate impact of suicide on LGBTQ youth and other at-risk groups.

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

“The Trevor Project is thrilled that the FCC continues to recognize the importance of suicide prevention and highlight the need for special services for LGBTQ youth. Chairman Pai’s order notes increased rates of suicidal ideation among young LGBTQ Americans and provides recommendations for stakeholders to work in collaboration with government groups to ensure these at-risk communities are being properly served by the Lifeline.

“Moving forward, The Trevor Project urges Congress to pass the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act, legislation that will enhance the Lifeline’s infrastructure prior to the implementation of 988. Today’s FCC order, in combination with the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act, would guarantee a well-funded Lifeline that can best serve LGBTQ callers and save American lives.”

According to The Trevor Project’s 2020 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health:

  • 40% of respondents seriously considered attempting suicide in the past twelve months, with more than half of transgender and nonbinary youth having seriously considered it
  • 68% of LGBTQ youth reported symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder in the past two weeks, including more than 3 in 4 transgender and nonbinary youth
  • 48% of LGBTQ youth reported engaging in self-harm in the past twelve months, including over 60% of transgender and nonbinary youth
  • 1 in 3 LGBTQ youth reported that they had been physically threatened or harmed in their lifetime due to their LGBTQ identity
  • 46% of youth report they wanted psychological or emotional counseling from a mental health professional but were unable to receive it in the past twelve months

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