Washington, D.C. (May 14, 2020) – The American Association of Suicidology (AAS) commends the US Senate in passing The National Suicide Prevention Designation Hotline Act. The bill, sponsored by Senators Cory Gardner and Tammy Baldwin, officially designates 988 as the unique, three-digit phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and the Veterans Crisis Line. AAS has been working closely with other leading suicide prevention and mental health organizations, lawmakers in Congress, and the Federal Communications Commission, to help ensure the bill provides appropriate funding for crisis centers while improving access for those in need of emotional support.

“It has been phenomenal to watch the effort involved with making this legislation happen,” said AAS CEO, Colleen Creighton. “We especially want to thank Senators Gardner and Baldwin for their continued life-saving advocacy for this bill and suicide prevention. We now shift our focus to the House where we heartily encourage them to pass this legislation as well.”

“Crisis centers are excited to see the priority and recognized importance of the work that we have been doing for years to provide vital support to those in our communities that are struggling.  Creating a 988 system for behavioral health support is certainly a development that speaks to the needs within our communities across our nation. With this passage of legislation, we have taken only the first steps toward this vision.  The importance of funding for this system to be successful cannot be understated. Providing for infrastructure, legitimate compensation and care for the call takers in this system is of immense importance to making a 988 successful in terms of quality and sustainability.  We look forward to the challenges that lie ahead as we come together as a national crisis community to build a system of care and support for our neighbors, community and nation.” – Cheri Skelding, VP of Clinical Operations, Rocky Mountain Crisis Partners (AAS Accredited Crisis Center)

In 2018 there were 48,344 suicide deaths in the US, with an age adjusted rate of 14.2 per 100,000 population. In the same year there were nearly 1.2 million suicide attempts. 

For the Media: Responsible reporting on suicide, including stories of hope and resilience, can prevent more suicides. Please visit the Suicide Reporting Recommendations for more information.

About AAS: The American Association of Suicidology is the world’s largest membership-based suicide prevention organization. Founded in 1968 by Edwin S. Shneidman, PhD, AAS promotes the research of suicide and its prevention, public awareness programs, public education and training for professionals and volunteers. The membership of AAS includes mental health and public health professionals, researchers, suicide prevention and crisis intervention centers, school districts, crisis center volunteers, survivors of suicide loss, attempt survivors, and a variety of laypersons who have in interest in suicide prevention. You can learn more about AAS at www.suicidology.org.

Press Contacts:

Colleen Creighton
Chief Executive Officer

Chris Maxwell
Director of Public Relations and Media