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Arlington, VA — The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) released a statement today in response to the decision of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to require telecommunication providers to support text messaging to 988*, the new national three-digit number for suicide prevention and mental health crises, from its CEO, Daniel H. Gillison, Jr.:
“The creation of 988 to assist people experiencing a mental health crisis was an enormous step forward in making it easier for people to access help. With today’s decision to require providers to support text messaging to 988, the FCC has created a new vehicle for people to access help. The ability to text 988 will support at-risk communities, including youth and young adults, marginalized and underserved populations, and individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing.
“NAMI applauds the FCC’s continued commitment and partnership to secure universal access to this life-saving crisis line.
“We are in the middle of a mental health crisis. Suicide remains the second leading cause of death among youth and young adults, particularly amongst LGBTQ+ and marginalized populations. Given the high percentages of teens who use texting as their primary way to communicate, text-to-988 will provide a more accessible connection to life-saving services. Every person needs to be able to access 988 — and related crisis services — in a way that works for them.
“This week NAMI, along with our national partners and thousands of advocates across the country, came together to reimagine our national response to people in crisis. 988 is part of that process — and it needs to be accessible to everyone. Our #ReimagineCrisis advocacy initiative aims to ensure support is available when people start calling and texting 988 for help in July.”
Read more: 988 Reimagining Crisis Response
*988 is not currently active. If you are experiencing a crisis, text “NAMI” to 741741 or call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.