09:10 GMT13 July 2020
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    If the recent recommendations of US communications officials were put into practice, Americans would need to dial just three digits to call the suicide prevention helpline. These digits are often used to glorify Adolf Hitler, and there are concerns that a new phone number could draw unwanted attention from hatemongers.

    A US man has vehemently criticised the proposal to switch the national suicide prevention hotline number in the United States from ten to three digits.

    The current phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255; the Federal Communications Commission recommended to lawmakers last month to change it to “988” to make it easier for people in crisis to access the service.

    “It’s not just a number,” Charles Greinsky, a 68-year-old Jewish war veteran from New York, told the New York Post.

    “You’d have Holocaust survivors and children of Holocaust survivors that are in need of mental health services dialing a number that causes extreme stress and makes people relive some of the worst experiences the world has ever seen,” he said.

    Greinsky, who says the digits were painted on his synagogue in 2008, is said to be lobbying the legislators to pick a different three-digit code.

    Neo-Nazis frequently use the digits 88 to identify themselves; “14/88” is a popular code that can be found in their graffiti, tattoos, and clothing. “14” is shorthand for a 14-word white supremacist slogan, while “88” stands for “Heil Hitler” (for H is the eighth letter in the alphabet).

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