December 17, 2018

Wyden Asks FCC to Adopt New Three-Digit Number for Mental Health and Suicide Support

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden today asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to adopt a new three-digit phone number for those needing mental health and suicide support.

Wyden noted in his letter to the FCC that suicide rates are rising nationally with the Centers for Disease Control reporting more than 40,000 Americans died by suicide last year. And unfortunately, according to Mental Health America, Oregon ranks poorly among states for prevalence of mental illness for youth, and 49th for prevalence of mental illness for adults.

“More needs to be done to help those in need, and to increase resources and improve access to mental health professionals to help those thinking of suicide,” Wyden wrote the FCC.

“I believe that a 3-digit code number, similar to 9-1-1 for emergencies, would most easily come to mind for those in need of intervention services,” Wyden wrote. “A new designated 3 digit code, such as 6-1-1, which has been recommended by my friends from Oregon Lines for Life, would be best because we need a dedicated hotline for only this issue.”

“We all know that for fire, or rescue, or physical injury, we call 911.  Well, we need a 911 for the brain -- and that’s what a three-digit lifeline will deliver,” said Lines for Life CEO Dwight Holton.  We all struggle from time to time. It’s time we make it easy for folks in crisis to get connected with folks who can help. And we very much appreciate Senator Wyden’s leadership on this issue.”

A copy of the letter is here.

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