Donald Trump continues to work on his role as the U.S. President weeks before he ultimately faces his rival, Joe Biden. On Saturday, he signed into law a "bipartisan bill," which designates a new and much shorter telephone number to reach the national suicide prevention hotline, according to CNN. Instead of the ten-digit number, 1-800-273-8255 (TALK), the public will be able to connect with the hotline by dialing 988 starting 2022.
The Federal Communications Commission, alongside the Senate, approved the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act. It consequently passed the House of Representatives last month.
The bipartisan bill, which Donald Trump signed over the weekend, gives the states the authority to collect fees for the move to ensure the efficiency and reliability of the local crisis centers when the volume of calls increases. It, also, steers health agencies to submit reports, which entails all the strategies to help improve "support services" for members of the public that are deemed to be at "higher risk for suicide." Based on reports, these especially include minorities in rural counties and LGBTQ youth.
Donald Trump signed the National Suicide Hotline Improvement Act into law in 2018 to direct the Federal Communications Commission to study the use of a three-digit number in order to reach the hotline. Following the move, the FCC recommended the 9-8-8 number among other options.
Reports said that the commission found that the number is much "easier" to remember. They, later on, added that it would likely help further Americans to access the "potentially life-saving" resources.
A year later, FCC, reportedly, estimated the costs of the implementation. Based on the figures, the first year would cost about $570 million. As for the succeeding year, the cost would decrease to $175 million.
The figures include all the costs for expanded call-center capacities, alongside the public awareness campaign. But, despite the hefty cost, reports stated that the benefits of the move are "quite likely" to outweigh the costs.
Donald Trump's move in signing this into law, reportedly, comes as the pandemic crisis has appeared to worsen the mental health issues across the country. CNN previously released a report detailing the latest data focusing on young people who have considered committing suicide.
Based on the conducted survey, the ideation of suicide has increased since last year, with one out of four young adults between ages 18 and 24, thought of taking their lives days before the survey took place.