Trump signs law making 988 the national suicide prevention hotline starting in 2022, as the coronavirus pandemic has caused a mental health crisis
Sue-Ann Siegel works one shift where the Montgomery County's hotline is monitored from her home office, including the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on March 18, 2020 in Chevy Chase, MD.
President Trump signed a non-partisan law on Saturday that, according to CNN, 988 will be the universal phone number for the national suicide prevention hotline from 2022.
The invoice changes the number of the hotline to three digits from the current number 1-800-273-8255 (TALK).
It also instructs health officials to develop plans to help communities at higher risk of suicide, such as minorities, LGBTQ youth and people in rural areas.
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President Trump signed a bipartisan law on Saturday setting 988 as the universal phone number for the national suicide prevention hotline from 2022, the White House said.
The invoice changes the number of the hotline to three digits from now 1-800-273-8255 (TALK).
The National Suicide Hotline and Regulation Act was previously approved by the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the Federal Communications Commission.
"988 echoes the 911 number we all know as an emergency number," said Ajit Pai, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, according to the BBC last year. "We believe that this three-digit number, which is reserved for this purpose, will facilitate access to crisis services."
The bill will require telephone operators to implement the 988 number and allow states to levy charges and forward them to local crisis centers in anticipation of higher volume.
It also instructs state health authorities to develop plans to improve support for communities at higher risk of suicide, such as minorities, LGBTQ youth, and people living in rural areas.
The news comes as the COVID-19 pandemic and its accompanying economic impact have hit mental health in the United States, especially for young Americans.
Suicide was a public health problem even before the pandemic. In 2018, suicide was the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, according to the CDC. It was the second leading cause of death in people ages 10 to 34 and the fourth in people ages 35 to 54.
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