If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or the NAMI helpline at 800-950-NAMI (6264). Soon, you can just call 988.
President Trump signed the Suicide Designation Act of 2020 into law on Saturday, designating 988 as the dial code for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
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Founded in 2004, the network of 161 crisis centers is backed by the federal government and provides a toll-free number for anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress, which will be available by June 2022. The law also allows states to enact fees to offer these expanded services, in the same way they currently do for 911.
“The need for 9-8-8 is urgent. Without appropriate care, people with mental illness end up on our streets, in jails and in emergency departments—and dying in tragic encounters with law enforcement,” said Daniel H. Gillison, Jr., NAMI CEO, in a statement. “By signing this bill into law, we are making real progress toward ensuring people in crisis get help, not handcuffs. We are grateful to Congress and the FCC for their efforts in moving this legislation forward and making 9-8-8 a reality.”
The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the health care system and made it difficult for many Americans to access vital mental health services. At the same time, those who’ve lost loved ones to COVID-19 are enduring grief in isolation. Black, Indigenous and Latinx communities, who have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19, are especially vulnerable.
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