9-8-8 will be the universal telephone number to reach the national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline
Leo Sher, M.D.
Yesterday, on October 17, 2020, President Donald J. Trump signed into law a bill titled the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act of 2020 that will make 9-8-8 the universal telephone number to reach the national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline in the United States starting in 2022 (1,2). The National Suicide Hotline Designation Act of 2020 was passed by the Senate in May 2020 and by the House of Representatives in September 2020 (3).
Currently, the suicide prevention hotline in the United States is accessible by the 10-digit number, 1-800-273-8255 (1-800-273-TALK) (2). The hope is that 9-8-8 will present less of a barrier to people enduring crisis and needing support. This new hotline will include the Veterans Crisis Line for veteran-specific mental health support and interventions (3).
- The White House. Bill Announcement. October 17, 2020. URL: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/bill-announcement-101720/
- LeBlanc P. Trump signs law designating 9-8-8 as universal number for national suicide hotline starting in 2022. CNN, October 17, 2020. URL: https://www.cnn.com/2020/10/17/politics/national-suicide-hotline-988-trump-signs-law/index.html
- Vincent B. Bill to make 988 the Nationwide Suicide Prevention Hotline heads to the President’s Desk. The Federal Communications Commission is laying the groundwork to launch by mid-2022. Nextgov, September 22, 2020. URL: https://www.nextgov.com/it-modernization/2020/09/bill-make-988-nationwide-suicide-prevention-hotline-heads-presidents-desk/168677/