With suicide rates rising in the U.S., the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is proposing the establishment of 988 as a national 3-digit number to help people access suicide prevention and mental health services. While a National Suicide Prevention Lifeline already exists – and can reached at (1-800-273-TALK) – FCC Chairman Ajit Pai says an easy-to-reach number would result in more people getting the assistance they need.

“Even though many are currently receiving life-saving counseling, there are millions more who need it but aren't reaching out,” said Pai.

In 2017, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline received more than two million calls from people seeking help. An estimated 10.6 million American adults seriously thought about committing suicide that same year, 1.4 million Americans attempted it and 47,000 Americans died by suicide. Suicide rates in the U.S. are at the highest levels since World War II.

The FCC will vote on the proposal at its December 12 meeting.