20 December 2021
Legislation co-sponsored by senators to create the new lifeline
US bailout funding will increase access to life-saving services for people in suicidal or mental health crises
(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) today welcomed $ 282 million in national funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration for the prevention of suicide and crisis care services, including the transition to the three-digit National Lifeline for Suicide Prevention dial code established by the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act, co-sponsored by Shaheen and Hassan.
“This funding couldn’t come at a more critical time, as COVID-19 rises again in New Hampshire and across the country. The pandemic has exacerbated anxiety and stress for all Americans, especially those with pre-existing mental health issues. As we approach two years from this crisis, it is crucial to strengthen resources and care for those in need, ”said Senator Shaheen. “I was proud to have co-sponsored legislation establishing 988 as the national lifeline for suicide prevention and to help negotiate the US bailout, which provides the tools to invest in prevention and response. to suicide. Even when we turn the page on the pandemic, its toll on the mental health of Americans will require infrastructure and resources to treat and recover. That is why I will continue to prioritize policies that deal with suicide prevention and awareness.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has underscored that we must act to address the gaps in our mental health support system,” said Senator Hassan. “This funding will help implement the National 9-8-8 Suicide Prevention Lifeline we established last year so more Americans can easily access mental health resources.” I am proud to have worked on the national Suicide Hotline Designation Act and I look forward to seeing this funding put to good use.
the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act designates 9-8-8 as the national lifeline for suicide prevention. The current National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and Veterans Crisis Line has 10 digits, which is a barrier for Americans in crisis seeking support. The dial code 988 will be available nationwide for calling, texting or chatting from July 2022.
Shaheen is a Senate leader who works to shed light on the mental health crisis and advance suicide prevention efforts. In the FY22 funding legislation announced by the Senate Appropriations Committee in August, Shaheen worked to include $ 598 million for VA suicide prevention, an increase of $ 286 million over funding levels. FY21. This continues Shaheen’s leadership on suicide prevention measures. Over the summer, she visited the Greater Manchester Mental Health Center to discuss the needs and challenges facing the region in the face of the mental health crisis. She also hosted a virtual chat with New Hampshire stakeholders and advocates to discuss the epidemic of youth and adolescent mental health facing the state. To highlight the need to address the challenges of adolescent mental health, Shaheen invited Maureen O’Dea, president of the New Hampshire School Counselors Association and director of the school board at Londonderry High School, as a virtual guest of the joint speech. from President Biden to Congress. Shaheen fought for funding for mental health and addiction services during the pandemic, including $ 4.25 billion in funding through December’s COVID emergency legislation and nearly $ 4 billion through the American rescue plan.
Senator Hassan is working across the aisle to expand access to mental health care for Granite Staters and Americans. The President recently enacted a bipartisan bill co-sponsored by Senator Hassan to authorize the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to create a pilot program on dog training therapy and provide assistance dogs to veterans suffering from mental health problems. Senator Hassan recently introduced a bipartisan bill aimed at improving maternal mental health outcomes for pregnant and postpartum patients, including addressing postpartum depression and anxiety and maternal suicide – which is one of the leading causes of maternal mortality and morbidity in the United States. Senator Hassan also introduced the Improving access to mental health through the Emergency Services Act with Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) to improve the way patients receive care for mental illness in emergency departments.