The U.S. is closer to developing a three-digit hotline for suicide prevention.
For several years, the Federal Communications Commission has been working to provide 988 as the three-digit hotline to connect those considering suicide to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
The three-digit hotline will be launched nationally for everyone by July 2022. But as of July, AT&T says that 99% of its customers can reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by dialing 988.
Simply dialing 988 is designed to be just as easy as dialing 911 for those in need.
“It is difficult, but it makes me feel so good when I can walk away and know that I made a difference in somebody’s life, and they decided to stay with us another day,” Sherri Bazan said.
As a crisis counselor, Bazan has experience dealing with people who are struggling.
For those seriously considering suicide, an opportunity for them to have someone to speak with, to simply listen to them, and help get to the root of what is giving them the extreme concern at the moment is an important step in helping those in need.
For those people who are intimidated with trying to find some help, and the internet search is too overwhelming with too many options, the simple act of being able to dial 988 like 911, makes it easy for those who are immediately struggling.
Officials with AT&T say the new three-digit hotline will offer much-needed help to those in need.
“If you’re in crisis, dial 988,” said Vonda Long-Dillard, an area manager for AT&T. “You’ll receive the help you need, and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline has been around since 2005, so as I stated earlier, this is well overdue. Here we are in 2021.”
The National Suicide Prevention Hotline remains available toll-free for everyone at 800-273-8255.