Get used to 988 in the 315. Folks in Utica, Rome, Syracuse, all across Central New York, and everyone in the U.S. now have a new number that's easy to remember. 988.

That's going to be the new number to reach counselors at the suicide prevention hotline. The handy three-digit number was approved by the Federal Communications Commission in order to make 988 the easier pathway to be connected to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, which currently uses 1-800-273-8255 (TALK). That number and service debuted in 2005.

"Far too many Americans are lost each year to suicide," according to Elinore McCance-Katz, the assistant secretary of Health and Human Services for mental health and substance abuse, who spoke Thursday at the FCC hearing, Yahoo News reported.

Statistics estimate roughly 1.4 million people in the U.S. attempt suicide every year. It's the second-leading cause of death for 10-34 year-olds, the fourth leading cause for 35-54 year-olds, and #8 for 55-64 year-olds.

The required deadline for all phone service providers to direct 988 calls to the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is July 16, 2022. The agency's mission statement:

We can all help prevent suicide. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.

For more information, you can go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

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