WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) today released the following statement applauding the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) decision to designate 9-8-8 as the new, nationwide National Suicide Prevention Hotline operational by July 16, 2022:
“This three-digit number, 9-8-8, will serve as the new national suicide and mental health crisis hotline number, connecting callers in need of help with experts who can offer resources and hope to make it through a mental health crisis. As suicide is on the rise among groups such as farmers and veterans, this easy-to-access number is vital for the health of thousands of Americans, and I commend the FCC for quickly taking this step to offer Americans greater access to life-saving support.”
Sen. Moran and Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) introduced the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act last year that would designate 9-8-8 as the suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline. The current National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and Veterans Crisis line is 10-digits, which is a barrier to Americans in crisis seeking support. This legislation unanimously passed the Senate in May.
A recent study by the Department of Veterans Affairs found that on average more than 6,000 veterans die by suicide every year. In his role as Chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Sen. Moran has made mental health a priority and introduced legislation to help combat veteran suicide. Farmers have also experienced an increase in suicide recently, and a 2016 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found agricultural workers have one of the highest suicide rates among occupations. To help combat the rise in suicide among farmers, Sen. Moran introduced legislation to provide farmers with critical resources, which was included in the most recent Farm Bill.
During the transition to 9-8-8, Americans who need help should continue to contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by calling 1-800-273-8255 (1-800-273-TALK). Veterans and servicemembers may reach the Veterans Crisis Line by pressing 1 after dialing, chatting online at www.veteranscrisisline.net, or texting 838255.