Senate unanimously passes Sen. Baldwin's Suicide Hotline Bill

Wisconsin lawmakers react to President Trump's $4.8 trillion budget introduced this week.
Wisconsin lawmakers react to President Trump's $4.8 trillion budget introduced this week.(NBC15)
Published: May. 14, 2020 at 11:15 AM CDT
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A bipartisan bill that would designate 988 as the national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline number is closer to becoming law after the Senate approved it Wednesday evening.

“In America, we lose about 45,000 people every year to suicide, including more than 6,100 veterans, making it one of the leading causes of death in this country,” stated Senator Baldwin in a news release. “We need to do everything we can to prevent suicide and that means improving the tools we have to help people who are suffering from depression or other mental health issues. I’m very proud my bipartisan legislation has passed the full Senate so we can make it as quick and easy as possible for Americans in crisis to get the help and support they need through the National Suicide Hotline.”

The National Suicide Hotline Designation Act, S.2661, would require the Federal Communications Commission to designate 988 as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which would also include veteran-specific mental health support.

The current National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and Veterans Crisis line is 10 digits long — 1-800-273-8255.

Baldwin introduced this bipartisan reform with Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO), Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Jack Reed (D-RI). A bipartisan group of 28 other senators cosponsored the legislation.

This legislation is endorsed by the American Legion, National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health,, United Suicide Survivors International, Open Minds, National Association for Rural Mental Health, Mental Health America, Tourette Association of America, the Kevin & Margaret Hines Foundation, the American Telemedicine Association, the Association for Behavioral Health and Wellness, Illinois Association of Behavioral Health, Behavioral Health Association of Providers, Postpartum Support International, Education Development Center, National Board for Certified Counselors, National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors, Association For Ambulatory Behavioral Health, SMART Recovery, American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry, American Psychiatric Nurses Association, Global Alliance for Behavioral Health and Social Justice, Confederation of Independent Psychoanalytic Societies (CIPS), 2020 Mom, the American Association of Suicidology, the American Counseling Association, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the American Psychological Association, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, Behavioral Health Link, Centerstone, Depression Association of America, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the National Association of Social Workers, the National Council for Behavioral Health, RI International, Suicide Awareness Voices of Education, Mental Health Colorado, Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, and The Trevor Project.