T-Mobile announced today that it has activated the new 988 emergency hotline for free mental health services nationwide. The Un-carrier noted that it's the first network carrier to open the new emergency lifeline number to customers.
The Federal Communications Commission moved in June to designate 988 as the new National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number. Its goal is to help address suicide and mental health crisis by connecting customers to a network of around 180 local and state-funded crisis centers.
Abdul Saad, T-Mobile’s Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, said activating the hotline "was a matter of urgency" for the company especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In July, the FCC gave network providers until July 16, 2022 to implement the 988 hotline across the U.S. The hotline's launch on T-Mobile's network comes several months ahead of that deadline.
T-Mobile noted a recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showing that more than 48,000 individuals in the U.S. commit suicide every year, with veterans hit hard in particular. The data revealed that 17.6 veterans on average take their own lives every day. According to Saad, the timing of the 988 rollout this month aims to "recognize the contributions and acknowledge the sacrifices of our military veterans".