9-8-8 Suicide Prevention Hotline goes live in Tennessee

On Saturday, the State of Tennessee’s new Suicide Prevention Hotline, 9-8-8, went live throughout the state. (.)

When you need help in an emergency, you dial 9-1-1. If you need to check for public utility lines when doing renovations at your home, you call 8-1-1. If you need directory assistance, you call 4-1-1. And now, thanks to a nudge by the U.S. Department of Human Services, if you or someone you love finds themselves in a mental health crisis, you can dial 9-8-8 in Tennessee and instantly reach help. The new number went live on Saturday in Tennessee with six crisis centers located throughout Tennessee to answer the calls.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in consultation with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the Department of Veteran Affairs, and the North American Numbering Council has recommended the use 988 as the 3-digit code for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in February 2021.

The FCC adopted rules in 2020 designating 988 for US citizens in crisis to connect with suicide prevention and mental health crisis counselors in their respective communities. With a target completion date of mid-2022, the effort will result in telephone service providers directing all 988 calls to the existing National Suicide and Prevention Lifeline.

“This is a worthwhile effort by the FCC,” said Tennessee Public Utility Commission Chairman Kenneth C. Hill. “Suicide has ranked among the top-ten of the leading causes of death in the United States, and any steps that can be taken to connect Tennessee residents in crisis to intervention service organizations will be tremendously helpful.”

Americans who need help today can find it by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273- 8255 (1-800-273-TALK) or through online chats. Veterans and Service members may reach the Veterans Crisis Line by pressing 1 after dialing, as well as by chatting online at www.veteranscrisisline.net or texting 838255.

“In the same way that 911 is an easy-to-remember number for emergency service, 988 will be the counter-part for suicide prevention and mental health crisis services to make it easier for those who may need this support,” said Hill.

In Tennessee Area Code news: permissive 10-digit dialing begins on April 24, 2021, and mandatory 10-digit dialing commences on October 24, 2021 for 731 and 865 area codes. Calls made within these two regions will require the use of each area’s area code to complete calls within their respective regions.

For more information, visit https://www.fcc.gov/suicide-prevention-hotline. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only locally-owned newspaper in Lynchburg and also the only woman-owned newspaper in Tennessee. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}