“Today's signing is the culmination of years of work by many. What started as a Utah-based initiative, led by Rep. Steve Eliason and Utah State Sen. Daniel Thatcher, has now become a reality. Being able to quickly dial 9-8-8 in a mental health crisis will give Americans a much-needed resource to help reverse the tragic trend of suicide. I am grateful to President Trump for prioritizing mental health and signing this bill into law in a timely manner. This is a great day for Utah and a great day for our country. " – Rep. Chris Stewart
The National Suicide Hotline Designation Act was introduced by Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT) and Seth Moulton (D-MA). Companion Legislation was introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Jerry Moran (R-KS), and Jack Reed (D-RI).
“When your house is on fire, you can get help by calling 9-1-1. A year-and-a-half ago, we set a goal to make it just as easy to get help in a mental health emergency,” Moulton said. “Today we finished the job and made 988 the national number for mental health emergencies” Moulton said.“This is a win for every American who has been affected by a mental illness. It is a national step forward out of the shadows of stigma that prevent too many people from getting help and into a new era when mental health care is easy to get and normal to talk about. I’m so proud of my team and the partners that got this done. This will save tens of thousands of lives every year.”
More About the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act:
In 2012, Utah Rep. Steve Eliason and Utah State Sen. Daniel Thatcher recognized the need to simplify the number for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.
In 2017, Rep. Stewart and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) began the process to designate a three-digit dialing code for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline by introducing the National Suicide Prevention Hotline Improvement Act. This legislation called for a study to determine the best three-digit dialing code. Read the full press release here.
In 2018, Congressman Stewart’s National Suicide Hotline Improvement Act became law. Read the full press release here.
In 2019, Rep. Stewart designated “9-8-8” as the universal telephone number for the National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Hotline. Read the full press release here.
On September 21, 2020, the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act passed the House and headed to the President’s desk. Read the full press release here.