FCC Seeks Feedback on Implementation of the National Suicide Hotline Act

June 13, 2024

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is accepting feedback on a notice of proposed rulemaking regarding the implementation of the National Suicide Hotline Act of 2018.

Currently, when an individual calls the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, they are connected to a call center based on their phone's area code, not their location at the time of the call. While this still ensures help is available over the phone, it can delay connections to mental health resources in the caller's community, mobile crisis teams, or additional local resources.

The proposed rule,18-336, would implement a process known as geo-routing to connect 988 callers to the crisis centers closest to their current locations. The FCC is accepting comments until June 28, 2024.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has shared a template for comments urging the FCC to accept this proposal:

"Dear Chairwoman Rosenworcel,

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the proposed rule, "National Suicide Hotline Act of 2018" (WC Docket No. 18-336). I'm grateful to the Federal Communications Commission for your leadership in making the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline available nationwide. The 988 Lifeline has already been an incredible life-saving resource for me and my community - and millions of others.

That is why I fully support the proposed rule to require wireless carriers to implement geo-routing solutions for calls to the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, while protecting confidential and personal information. Although callers currently receive support from 988 crisis counselors regardless of location, a geo-routing solution for 988 would ensure people are connected to the local care, support, and resources they need to get well and stay well throughout and after a crisis. With more than 80 percent of callers reaching out via mobile phones, it is even more critical that we connect callers based on where they are, not the area code of their phones.

Every day, communities like mine bear the costs of an inadequate response to our ongoing mental health crisis - like the unmeasurable cost of losing our loved ones, friends, and neighbors because they couldn't get the help and support they needed during an emergency. A solution to route calls to 988 based on general geographic location would help realize the potential of 988 by connecting callers to local support and benefit our country to better support people in mental health or suicide crises during what may be the worst day of their lives.

Thank you again to the Federal Communications Commission for the opportunity to comment on this important proposed rule. We urge you to finalize this rule and implement this solution as quickly as possible.


Your Name"

To submit comment on this proposal to the FCC, please follow the instructions detailed below:

  1. Click here to submit an express comment.
  2. In the first box, for the "Proceeding(s): Specify the FCC proceeding(s) to which your filing refers Number," enter 18-336.
  3. Once you enter the number, select "Implementation of the National Suicide Hotline Improvement Act of 2018" from the dropdown menu.
  4. Enter your full name under "Name of Filer," followed by your email and address in the remaining, required fields.
  5. In the textbox for "Brief Comments," customize, then copy and paste the template.
  6. If you'd like to make your comment stronger, add a local or personal story at the end of the first paragraph.
  7. Check the acknowledgement box and hit "Continue to Review Screen".
  8. Select the box that you are not a robot and then click "Submit".

Click here for more information and documents relating to this proposed rule, and click here to access the notice of proposed rulemaking itself.

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