Advancing 9-8-8 can’t wait.
This easy-to-access, nationwide 3-digit emergency number (9-8-8) will help people in a mental health crisis. And it’s close to becoming a reality.
The Federal Communications Commission unanimously voted in July to designate 9-8-8 as the universal three-digit dialing code for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by July 2022. Now, we need Congress to act to make mental health services available when someone calls for help.
While the House and Senate have both passed similar (but not identical) bills to make resources for 9-8-8 available, the House must pass S. 2661, the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act, to get this over the finish line. This bill will help ensure that when a person is in a mental health crisis, their community has the resources to connect them to mental health support instead of the back of a police car.
The need is urgent. More than half of people in the U.S. report that COVID-19 has had a negative impact on their mental health, increasing demand for mental health helplines and hotlines across the country.
9-8-8 can’t wait.