WASHINGTON (JULY 23, 2018) – Today the U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass the National Suicide Hotline Improvement Act. The Senate unanimously passed the same bill in October 2017. John Madigan, senior vice president for public policy from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), the nation’s largest suicide prevention organization, released this statement:
“We applaud Congress for passing this important legislation that will make it easier for Americans to access free and confidential emotional support if they are in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. We thank Congressman Chris Stewart (R-UT) and Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), along with Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Joe Donnelly (D-IN) for their leadership on this legislation. We thank all Congressional members who signed on to sponsor this legislation in both houses and encourage President Trump to sign this into law as soon as possible. The lives of millions of Americans depend on the lifesaving services provided by the National Lifeline.”
If signed into law, this legislation would call for a study to evaluate (1) the feasibility of designating a three-digit dialing code for a national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline system; and (2) the effectiveness of the current National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK), including how well it addresses the needs of veterans. The FCC will be required to submit a report to Congress including a recommended dialing code, a cost-benefit analysis comparing the three-digit code to the current lifeline number, and cost estimates for service providers, states, and localities.
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.
Contact: Alexis O’Brien, 347-826-3577, firstname.lastname@example.org
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