The U.S. has changed its 10-digit National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to 988 to make 24/7 crisis care more available amid an ongoing flood of suicides and drug overdoses among young people.
More than 200 state and local call centers funded by the Department of Health and Human Services received 3.6 million calls, chats and texts on the hotline last year, the Federal Communications Commission said in a press release.
The FCC expects that number to double within the first full year of the new 988 number.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide was the second leading cause of death for young people aged 10-14 and 25-34 in 2020. From April 2020 to 2021, the CDC found more than 100,000 people died from drug overdoses.
Congress designated the new 988 dialing code in 2020, ordering it to be operated through the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.