AAS Celebrates Passage of National Suicide Hotline Designation Act and Thanks Congress for Prioritizing Suicide Prevention

WASHINGTON, DC (September 22, 2020): The American Association of Suicidology (AAS) applauds the US House of Representatives in passing several pieces of critical suicide prevention legislation on Monday. These include:

  1. S. 2661 – National Suicide Hotline Designation Act of 2020
  2. H.R. 1646 – HERO Act
  3. H.R. 4564 – Suicide Prevention Lifeline Improvement Act of 2020
  4. H.R. 4585 – Campaign to Prevent Suicide Act
  5. H.R. 5619 – Suicide Prevention Act

Of particular note, the passage of the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act effectively establishes 988 as a unique, new, 3-digit mental health and suicide crisis hotline. While the hotline will not become active for another 2 years, this is a vital step in laying the foundation for the infrastructure in this country to allow increased access to those who find themselves in an emotional crisis.

“We’re pleased to see this Congress prioritize suicide and mental health” said Colleen Creighton, AAS CEO. “By passing all of these bills, Congress is sending a strong message to all Americans that our nation’s mental health and suicide prevention has parity with and is as vital and critical as our nation’s physical health. And as 988 continues its path forward towards implementation, we look forward to working with Congress and the states to ensure crisis services are well-equipped and adequately resourced to handle the volume of calls once this necessary change takes place.”

AAS also applauds the dozens of partner organizations responsible for working with Congress to address, draft, develop, and finalize this legislation. Dedicated professionals across the country have worked tirelessly to make this a reality.

“As an accrediting body of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, Veterans Crisis Line, and crisis call centers throughout the country, AAS is thankful to Congress for recognizing the valuable role that crisis services play in each of our states and communities,” said Becky Stoll, Chair of AAS’s Crisis Services Division and Vice-President of Crisis and Disaster Management for Centerstone. “This has been an unprecedented team effort by so many organizations and hundreds of centers throughout the country coming together to make 988 a reality. This effort will forever transform how consumers access mental health care.”

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.

About Centerstone: Centerstone is a not-for-profit health system providing mental health and substance use disorder treatments. Services are available nationally through the operation of outpatient clinics, residential programs, the use of telehealth and an inpatient hospital. Centerstone also features specialized programs for the military community, therapeutic foster care, children’s services and employee assistance programs. Centerstone’s Research Institute provides guidance through research and technology, leveraging the best practices for use in all our communities. Centerstone’s Foundation secures philanthropic resources to support the work and mission of delivering care that changes people’s lives.