According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suicide is the 10th-leading cause of death across the United States, and it is ranked second for Americans age 10-34. In fact, the national suicide rate has increased 25.4% from 1999 to 2016. Vulnerable groups – such as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth – are more than four times as likely to attempt suicide as their peers. And the Department of Veterans Affairs found that veterans are more than twice as likely to die by suicide as civilians.
Fortunately, Congress and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) are considering a proposal to replace the current National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Number (1-800-273-TALK) with an easy to remember 3-digit dialing code of 9-8-8.
According to the FCC, a 3-digit dialing code “would make it easier for Americans in crisis to access potentially life-saving resources.” We couldn’t agree more. Millions of Americans would instantly benefit if mental health services could be accessed easily in moments of crisis.
As suicides are on the rise in nearly all demographics across the nation, a dedicated three-digit number for those experiencing a mental health crisis would be a landmark step for the field of mental health, making it easier to support those in pain and begin the journey toward hope and healing. It would transform access to care and ultimately save lives.
Share Your Support
On Thursday, February 27, the U.S. House of Representatives will be holding its first legislative hearing on HR 4194 – The National Suicide Hotline Designation Act.
In advance of this hearing, we want to make sure members of Congress hear from constituents indicating strong support for this legislation.
Join us by reaching out to your Representatives to share support for designating and funding 9-8-8 as a nationwide emergency mental health service number!
Call (202) 224-3121 and ask to speak to your Representative.
Once you have a staff person on the phone, let them know you support the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act (S. 2661/H.R. 4194)
(Sample statement also provided below.)
Hello, my name is (name, city you live in, place you work). I am calling to share my support for the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act H.R. 4194) with my Representative. As suicides are on the rise in nearly all demographics across the nation, a dedicated three-digit number (9-8-8) for those experiencing a mental health crisis would make it easier for millions of Americans to access critical mental health resources and receive life-saving help. Please consider working with your congressional colleagues to fully pass the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act. Thank you.
Sample social media post
Today, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death for all Americans and the 2nd leading cause of death for individuals aged 10-34. A dedicated three-digit number (9-8-8) for those experiencing a mental health crisis would make it easier for millions of Americans to access critical mental health resources and receive life-saving help. Call (202) 224-3121 and ask your Representative to support the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act (S. 2661/H.R. 4194) #988 #SuicidePrevention