Across the U.S. suicide rates have dramatically increased in the past 20 years, with some states recording a 30% increase among residents. In 2016 alone, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 45,000 Americans took their own lives.

In an effort to combat these horrendous statistics the federal government plans to set up a suicide prevention hotline using a three-digit telephone number. The idea is that individuals in need will only need to dial a minimum of numbers (similar to 911) in order to get the help they need.

At the present time, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline has a 10-digit phone number, 800-273-TALK (8255) for those needing assistance. Instead, once the new federal line is approved, callers will need to dial 988 for assistance, a much quicker and easier to remember lifeline.

Suicide prevention groups have welcomed the new resource at a time when an estimated 2.2 million calls were made to crisis lines last year. Dwight Holton heads up Lines for Life, a suicide prevention group and says, “The three-digit number is really going to be a breakthrough in terms of reaching people in a crisis. No one is embarrassed to call 911 for a fire or an emergency. No one should be embarrassed to call 988 for a mental health emergency.”

After calling 988, callers will be re-routed to one of more than 16 crisis centers nationwide,

The new line is a result of a Federal Communications Commission study which took place last year. The group found that having a three-digit number for suicide prevention is vital because it makes it easier for those in distress to reach much-needed help.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai noted, “More than 20 veterans die by suicide every day and more than half a million LGBTQ youth will attempt suicide this year alone. A shorter, simpler suicide hotline number could be a game-changer.”

If you or someone you love is struggling with suicidal ideation and addiction, now is the time to reach out for help. At Arbor Behavioral Healthcare, you will meet knowledgeable, compassionate professionals who understand addiction in all its forms. We use an integrative and holistic approach to treat addiction and mental health issues. No treatment is one-size-fits-all, and at The Arbor, you will have a team of experts prepared to create your customized treatment plan. We offer care for your mind, body, and spirit so you can heal from the inside out and look forward to a lifetime of sobriety and wellness. If you are ready to take the first step in your recovery, please call us today at 844-413-2690.