suicide prevention

New Nationwide Suicide Hotline: ‘988' Designated to Reach Crisis Counselors

Goal is to make it easier for those in crisis to connect with counselors

NBCUniversal, Inc.

More help is on the way for anyone contemplating suicide.

The Federal Communications Commission is establishing 988 as the new, nationwide 3-digit phone number to reach suicide prevention and mental health crisis counselors.

New rules adopted by the commission on July 16 require phone service providers to direct all 988 calls to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline within two years, by July 16, 2022. 

During the transition to 988, anyone seeking help can continue to contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by calling 1-800-273-8255 or 1-800- 273-TALK and through online chats at Lifeline Chat. Veterans and Service members may reach the Veterans Crisis Line by pressing 1 after dialing, chatting online at, or texting 838255. 

Suicide has ranked as the tenth leading cause of death in the United States since 2008 and claimed the lives of more than 48,000 Americans in 2018. An FCC staff report to Congress in 2019 proposed establishing 988 as an easy-to-remember three-digit code for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

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