FCC working to launch 3 digit suicide prevention hotline – 988

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SOUTHWEST MISSOURI — The FCC has passed a proposal for the creation of a new 3 digit suicide prevention hotline.

How will this help people facing difficult situations?

The new 3 digit number will take the stress out of trying to remember the current 1-800 number and possibly get help quicker for those in need.

Del Camp, Freeman Ozark Center Chief Clinical Officer, said, “We’re certainly appreciative that people have really understood this is a serious problem and they are trying to take some action to intercept this problem.”

On Thursday, the FCC voted to proceed with a proposal to set up a new suicide prevention hotline.

Instead of a 1-800 number, people can call 988 and be directed to a counselor at an existing crisis center around the nation.

Experts say, this will be a great tool for those facing difficult situations.

“I think that your capacity for memory decreases when you’re in a stressful environment and those experiencing a suicidal depression, often times are going to benefit from having a smaller number that they can remember.”

Last year, the suicide hotline was called more than two million times.

And camp says the calls will only increase when the new 988 number is in use.

“We believe based on some of the funding that is available within this proposal that has been accepted that there will be additional funding available for community centers that would experience an uptick in the kinds of calls that they might get on a crisis basis.”

The Freeman Ozark Center currently has a texting program for four state residents who are facing a difficult situation.

The Txtaboutit Program is just another way people can be comfortable, while talking through unsettling topics.

Camp hopes this program will be adopted nationwide.

“Our experience is that it has been almost entirely a good thing, so it would be great for them to try to find a way for them to make that happen from a federal perspective, but we know locally we have that option.”

To register for the Freeman Ozark Center texting program, just text the word register to 720-7-T-X-T-O-Z-K

The next step for this proposal will be an opening for public comment.

The FCC will have 18 months to get the 3 digit hotline up and running.

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