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AFSP Urges Congress to Simplify and Fund the Nation’s Suicide Prevention Lifeline Phone Number
WASHINGTON (November 25, 2019) – Today the nation’s largest suicide prevention organization, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), released this statement by John Madigan, AFSP Senior Vice President of Public Policy:
“The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) has been a leading supporter in the efforts to change the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s 10-digit hotline number (1-800-273-8255) into a 3-digit dialing code. The leading Congressional effort to designate a 3-digit number is the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act (H.R. 4194 / S. 2661).
AFSP has endorsed the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act and the 988-dialing code designation.
Since the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recommended that a 3-digit phone number be designated for the purposes of a mental health and suicide prevention crisis hotline, and that “988” be designated for this purpose, AFSP has been actively urging Congress and the FCC that any new hotline system be nationally accessible and adequately resourced.
The FCC is already initiating the regulatory process to designate “988” as the number for a mental health and suicide prevention hotline. It is imperative that legislative efforts progress parallel to the FCC’s rulemaking. All discussions regarding a future suicide prevention hotline must prioritize the suicide prevention perspective.
Given the predicted increase in call volume that will follow a 3-digit number designation, any new suicide prevention hotline system must be fortified by additional federal investments.
Our goal is to use our technical expertise and advocacy efforts to implement effective, national policies that can save lives. We will continue to address the challenges and concerns associated with any new policy.”
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide. AFSP creates a culture that’s smart about mental health through education and community programs, develops suicide prevention through research and advocacy, and provides support for those affected by suicide. Led by CEO Robert Gebbia and headquartered in New York, with an Advocacy office in Washington, DC, AFSP has local chapters in all 50 states with programs and events nationwide. Learn more about AFSP in its latest Annual Report, and join the conversation on suicide prevention by following AFSP on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.