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Thursday / September 28.

House Representatives Introduce the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act

The National Suicide Hotline Designation Act

Stephanie Hepburn is a writer in New Orleans. She is the editor in chief of #CrisisTalk. You can reach her at​

On Tuesday, House Representatives Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Chris Stewart (R-UT), Seth Moulton (D-MA), and Greg Gianforte (R-MT) introduced the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act. The bill, if it becomes law, would designate 9-8-8 as the universal phone number for mental health and suicide crisis. The congresspeople incorporated the three-digit-code recommended by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in its report last week. Rep. Stewart and Rep. Moulton penned an article for the Washington Post discussing the bipartisan legislation, highlighting that nearly 1 in 5 Americans live with a mental illness. The authors, both veterans, write that suicide is on the rise and kills an average of 20 veterans per day. (This number includes active-duty service members, non-activated guardsmen or reservists, and other veterans.) Rep. Stewart and Rep. Moulton state that “the legislation alone is not a panacea” but aims to ensure that callers in psychological distress have an easy way to obtain the help they need in the time they need it and that states can collect a small fee, like that for 911, to support local crisis centers. The authors write: “We must also start talking to each other about mental-health care so that seeking help for everything from suicidal thoughts to addiction to depression is as routine as going to the doctor for a broken arm or an annual checkup.”

Check out the full article here.