One call can save a life. But, when a person is in a mental health crisis and has to look-up or remember a 10-digit number, precious minutes can be lost. We need a readily accessible crisis response system as an essential component of our nation’s strategy for mental health intervention and suicide prevention. Having a three-digit dialing code (9-8-8) in place can’t wait – especially as the pandemic creates new obstacles to accessing care.
On Tuesday, September 15, we are joining a coalition of partners to call and text on the House of Representatives to pass the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act. Will you help us elevate our #988CantWait message? Mark your calendars for our virtual “day of action” as we take our message to Congress and urge the passage of this life-saving legislation.
Hope and help are within reach for millions of struggling Americans – join us.
Want to show support for implementing 988?
- Click HERE to find your U.S. Representative. (please feel free to skip where they ask for personal information).
- Let them know how you would like them to vote on the Suicide Hotline Designation Act.
- To review more on the specifics of the House Bill introduced by Congressmen Stewart and Moulton, H.R. 4194
What if you could call COPES by dialing a three-digit number like 911?
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will vote in on Thursday, July 16 about designating “988” as the new, nationwide, three-digit phone number the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL). In Tulsa, Family & Children’s Services COPES crisis hotline (918.744.4800) answers the NSPL calls.
If passed, individuals in crisis can dial 988 to immediately connect with suicide prevention and mental health crisis counselors. Calling 911 will still be for an emergency when someone needs help right away because of an injury or an immediate danger. Right now, 988 is NOT CURRENTLY ACTIVE nationally and may not connect callers to the Lifeline or COPES.)
Thinking logically during a crisis is sometimes impossible, so imagine trying to remember a 10-digit number that you may rarely use when you are overwhelmed and in crisis. Right now, the NSPL uses the 10-digit number, 800-273-TALK (8255). The simplicity of calling a three-digit number and immediately being connected to suicide prevention services and mental health resources is something that takes the guesswork out of what to do when you need help.
Executive Director of the NSPL said, “Should the vote on July 16 pass, we will seek to collaborate with national telecommunications providers to coordinate the activation of 988 across the country.”
The Federal Communications Commission says phone service providers will have until July 2022 to implement the new number.