New 3-digit phone number offers a lifeline for mental health crisis resources

By: Kathy Grillo

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Suicide is a leading cause of death in the U.S., and it’s on the rise. Vulnerable groups like veterans, LGBTQ youth, and Black teens are particularly at risk.

To help address this urgent public health issue, the FCC tomorrow is expected to approve plans to establish 988 as the new, nationwide, 3-digit phone number for suicide prevention and mental health crisis counseling. This decision will enhance mental health care in our country by helping people easily access potentially life-saving resources.

Millions of Americans struggle with mental health issues and are often stigmatized for seeking help. It is critical that people in emotional distress have rapid access to mental health services because suicide is preventable, and many mental health issues are treatable.

A healthy mind is just as important as a healthy body. Dialing 988 for mental health crises will save lives, just as dialing 911 saves lives in cases of medical emergencies.

Now more than ever, in these challenging times, it is important that people in pain can easily access a lifeline and be connected with the help and health resources they need.

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About the author:

Kathy Grillo is Verizon's senior vice president and deputy general counsel, public policy and government affairs.

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