The FCC voted on Thursday to make 988 a suicide hotline number in 2022. Critics pointed out that the ruling did not address texting, which is the preferred mode of communication for many populations with high suicide rates. FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel stated:
I wholeheartedly approve this effort. But in light of the skyrocketing rates of suicide among our nation's young people, I think this agency should have been more ambitious. Right now, the FCC lacks a plan to incorporate the ability to text into the number we establish today. But as we confront the rise in suicide by teenagers across the country, we should acknowledge that texting is their primary form of communication. Voice service has its benefits, but it is not native for most young people. So I regret today's decision is anchored in older technologies and takes a pass on developing texting capabilities with this three-digit hotline. We should have done so here. I sincerely hope we can do so in the future.
In the meantime, if you are in crisis, call 800-273-8255 or visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org. You can also text via crisistextline.org or by texting START to 741741 from anywhere in the United States.
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