Paducah — In an emergency, you call 911. You know the number by heart.

3-digit suicide hotline

The Federal Communications Commission is proposing a similar three-digit number for suicide prevention. It would be the new suicide hotline, The current hotline is a 10-digit number. 

Patty Canon described her 22-year-old son, Justin, who lost his life to suicide in 2013, as a kind, beautiful young man. Canon said he isolated himself and hid his feelings behind a smile. When he died, she made it a personal mission to help others prevent suicide.

She wants to make sure no other parent deals with the loss of a child.

"Every day still after 16 years, even though we have come to terms with Justin being gone and the way he left us, those questions will always remain in my mind," Canon said.

Although the suicide prevention hotline is helpful, she said it can be difficult to access in time of crises.

 "A 3-digit number is just so easily imprinted in your mind that maybe your fingers will just do it self-consciously for you, just like if you were calling home for something," Canon said.

The new recommended number is 988. The shorter number would be easier for people to remember and give more people the chance to get help.

Suicide Prevention Specialist Samantha Powell said the three-digit number would make crisis resolution faster.

"It not only helps somebody that might be thinking of suicide or have mental health issues, but it's also those people around them that might need to call," Powell said. "Because if you don't have that resource, it takes just a little bit longer."

Canon hopes the proposal becomes reality and lives are saved.

"I do not want another mother to go through what we have gone through for 16 years," Canon said.

This Saturday, The American Foundation For Suicide Prevention is hosting an "Out of the Darkness" walk in Paducah to raise awareness and money. It begins at 10:30 a.m. at Brooks Stadium.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255.