HHS TO DEDICATE $280 TO NEW SUICIDE PREVENTION HOTLINE
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will dedicate $280 million to transition the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to the three-digit phone number 988 in July 2022, officials announced on Monday.
The funding from the Biden administration’s fiscal 2022 budget and the American Rescue Plan will go toward the “critical priority” of making the suicide prevention hotline more accessible across the country, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra told reporters on a call.
Approximately $177 million will be allocated to improve and expand lifeline network operations and telephone infrastructure. Another $105 million is meant to increase staffing at state and local crisis call centers.
“This is the beginning of a major effort undertaken by the administration to really put resources behind this effort to try to improve that infrastructure we have for mental health and crisis care services,” Becerra said.
Flashback: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) unanimously approved 988 as the new national suicide prevention hotline last year, giving phone service providers until July 16, 2022, to make the switch. Last month, the FCC also voted to allow people to text 988 for assistance.
Before July, Americans needing help should call the current National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.