Push for Nationwide Suicide Hotline

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(WBRE/WYOU-TV) A new lifeline for people considering suicide could soon be a reality.

Congress and the FCC are both pushing for a new emergency number—similar to 911—that would help people having a crisis.

And as Washington, Dc Correspondent Trevor Shirley reports the new number would replace a number that already exists…but that many people in need don’t even know about.

9-8-8.

Officials hope those three numbers will soon save lives—and give suicidal people an easy-to-use lifeline.

  “I want to see a situation where every single American who is struggling can find someone in that moment who can help,” Said  Ajit Pai, FCC Chairman

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Fully supports the idea.

And based on early feedback… He says he’s not the only one.

  “I’ve been gratified by the folks who have emailed in, who have tweeted at me, who have suggested this is a real game-changer for those who for too long have been struggling with an issue.”

 The CDC says on average, about 47,000 Americans die from suicide each year…and another 1.4 *million* attempt it.”

Right now there is already a dedicated suicide hotline ( 1-800-273-8255) but it’s not well-known or easy to remember.

988 would replace that number–and work just like 911.

  “We’ve had 911 for a long time, we’re familiar with that as Americans but these other ideas, these other services like a 988 program, is essential,” said  Tom Shakely, Americans United For Life

Tom Shakely of Americans United for Life says if it happens, the ease of 988 would undoubtedly save lives.

  “It doesn’t require having a business card, it doesn’t require having a pamphlet, you don’t need to have anything with you, you just remember those numbers.”

Congressional legislation to make the change already has bi-partisan support.

   “And so I think that groundswell of support, as well as support from Congress on both sides of the aisle, suggests that we’re on the right track here,” said Pai.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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