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FCC votes to set up a 3-digit suicide hotline number like 911

Once it's implemented, all a person will need to do is dial 988 to reach someone at the suicide prevention hotline.

U.S. regulators are setting up a new three-digit number to reach a suicide prevention hotline in order to make it easier to seek help and reduce the stigma associated with mental health. 

Similar to 911 for emergencies, people will just need to dial 988 to seek help once it's implemented. 

Currently, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline uses a 10-digit number, 800-273-TALK. Callers are routed to one of 163 crisis centers. 

Thursday's vote by the Federal Communications Commission starts the months-long process to set up 988. 

RELATED: Gov't wants a new 911-like number just for suicide hotline

The move comes as the suicide rate has hit its highest level since World War II, according to federal data

The next step is a comment period before the FCC moves to an order.

If you or someone you know may be struggling with suicidal thoughts you can call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) any time of day or night or chat online. 

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