T-Mobile adds 988 suicide prevention hotline to its network

The carrier is the first major wireless provider to add the three-digit number to its service.

Eli Blumenthal Senior Editor
Eli Blumenthal is a senior editor at CNET with a particular focus on covering the latest in the ever-changing worlds of telecom, streaming and sports. He previously worked as a technology reporter at USA Today.
Expertise 5G | Mobile networks | Wireless carriers | Phones | Tablets | Streaming devices | Streaming platforms | Mobile | Console gaming
Eli Blumenthal

T-Mobile is the first wireless provider to make the 988 hotline available. 

Angela Lang/CNET

T-Mobile is adding the new 988 suicide prevention and mental health hotline to its network, the carrier announced on Friday, making it the first major wireless provider to add the hotline. 

Instituted earlier this year by the Federal Communications Commission, the new 988 number functions as an easier and quicker way to connect those looking to talk with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The previous method, which requires dialing 1-800-273-8255 (TALK), is still available. 

T-Mobile says that dialing the three-digit code will connect callers for free to "approximately 180 crisis centers that offer real-time, lifesaving mental health services from professionally trained counselors."

The wireless provider says it adjusted its system to ensure that not only are 988 calls properly routed but that its billing system won't accidentally charge for the calls. Those who text the code get an "immediate" bounce-back message advising them to call the number. 

Under FCC rules that were passed earlier this year, telecom providers will need to add the 988 hotline to their systems by July 16, 2022. 

If you're struggling with negative thoughts or suicidal feelings, here are 13 suicide and crisis intervention hotlines you can use to get help.

You can also call these numbers:

US: The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-8255. 

UK: The Samaritans can be reached at 116 123. 

Australia: Lifeline can be reached at 13 11 14.