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FCC suggests three-digit number for suicide prevention hotline

The Federal Communications Commission recommended 988 as the three-digit dial code for the national suicide prevention hotline Thursday.
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SALT LAKE CITY — The Federal Communications Commission recommended 988 as the three-digit dial code for the national suicide prevention hotline Thursday.

The number is a result of legislation sponsored by Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, and former GOP Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch calling for a study to determine the best three-digit number for the hotline. Congress passed the bill last year.

“Utahns are facing the tragic effects of suicide at some of the highest rates in the nation,” Stewart said. “Today’s announcement by the FCC is another important step to provide critical resources to address mental health and suicide in our state and country. This will save lives.”

The national suicide prevention hotline number — 800-273-TALK — is cumbersome and hard to remember, Stewart said earlier, adding most people have never heard of it.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai thanked Stewart and others for leading out on the issue.

“This initiative is important because (1) @CDCgov reports suicide rates rose in 49/50 states from 1999-2016 and (2) rates are higher for at-risk groups like #Veterans and #LGBTQ youth,” Pai tweeted.