NASHVILLE — On September 21, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act (S.2661). This legislation will implement the three-digit “9-8-8” hotline number through funding guidance, federal reporting, and specialized services for communities at high risk.

The bipartisan bill was passed unanimously by the U.S. Senate in May 2020; the number change was also approved by the FCC in July 2020.

This act is being heralded as a win for suicide prevention advocates. “We continue to move in the right direction,” stated Misty Leitsch, the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network’s Interim Executive Director. “If we can educate and promote the 988 number, just as we do 911, we can save thousands of lives. I believe, when taught early, properly, and consistently, we can reduce the stigma that is often associated with mental illness.”

The 988 crisis hotline will not be available nationally until July 2022. Please continue to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

For more information on national and statewide crisis hotlines and resources, visit tspn.org.