In 2020, Congress passed the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act, which created the three-digit phone number of 988 as the new national suicide hotline. While the number will not be available until 2022, Congress is taking its role in establishing the new hotline seriously. Recently, the House passed the Labor-HHS-Education spending bill that would provide $113.6 million for the lifeline for fiscal year 2022, a bump of $89.6 million above the enacted level. Furthermore, the House bill would also direct SAMHSA to set aside 10% of Mental Health Block Grant funds for crisis care programs, up from 5%. This is a big win for suicide prevention, and it is heartening to see Congress prioritizing the establishment of this new hotline.
As a friendly reminder, NABITA is still encouraging members to reach out to their home state senators and ask that they support the BIG Act, S. 1383. Your voice matters to members of Congress and can make a real difference! For your convenience, NABITA has created a member activation page with a sample email draft and all the information you need to reach out to your senator.