In response to concerns about the effectiveness of the National Suicide and Crisis hotline, New York Representative Marc Molinaro is calling on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to implement “georouting” for 988 calls.
This change would direct calls to the nearest call center based on the caller’s location, rather than their phone number’s area code. The push for this reform comes after a survey revealed that only one-third of people who dialed 988 in 2022 would call again, highlighting the need for more localized support.
Currently, the 988 system routes calls based on the caller’s phone number’s area code, which can lead to challenges, especially in situations where dispatching police or emergency personnel is necessary. Molinaro emphasizes the importance of connecting callers with individuals familiar with their community and local resources. While the FCC has started trial routing calls, no official changes have been implemented yet.
The proposal to route calls locally aims to enhance the system’s efficacy, which has a robust system of care involving EMS, law enforcement, and Mental Health Mobile Crisis Teams.
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