Bill to shorten crisis hotline to 3 digits passes Senate committee

Published: Dec. 11, 2019 at 4:49 PM CST
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A bill introduced by U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin to make a national suicide hotline even easier to remember, took another step forward.

On Wednesday the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation passed the bipartisan bill that would change the current 10-digit number to a three-digit number, 9-8-8. It also would allow veterans to press "1" after dialing 9-8-8 to be routed automatically to the veterans crisis line for veteran-specific mental health support.

Senator Baldwin said the current number is too difficult to remember and can be a barrier for those in crisis who want to get help.

"It's such a simple, straight-forward change, it makes sense, especially when we have such an epidemic of death by suicide in our country," she expressed. "This is something we can turn around."

She said in 2017, more than 900 people in Wisconsin died by sucide, and 1 out of 5 of those every year are veterans.

The bill next goes to the full Senate for a vote. It will also have to pass the House and be signed by the the President, before becoming law.

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