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Leading Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Organizations Celebrate Major Milestone for the 988 Lifeline and Crisis Response

Leading Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Organizations Celebrate Major Milestone for the 988 Lifeline and Crisis Response

10 states now sustainably fund the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline; groups urge others to act 

WASHINGTON, June 4, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — With this week’s enactment of Vermont H. 657, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)Vibrant Emotional Health (Vibrant)Inseparable and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) celebrate Vermont marking the 10th state in the nation to adopt measures that will sustainably fund the statewide operation of the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.

The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline transitioned to the current three-digit “9-8-8” number in July 2022. Since this transition, crisis contact centers nationwide continue to experience significant increases in demand for their services. Any person in crisis or emotional distress – or a person supporting someone in crisis – can call or text 988 or chat at 988lifeline.org/chat, any time of day or night, 365 days a year, to reach a trained counselor for crisis support. The 988 Lifeline answered nearly 5 million contacts in the past year alone – 2 million more than the previous 12 months.

Importantly, 988 Lifeline crisis contact centers also link individuals to in-person crisis care or wraparound services as needed, filling in a critical continuum of care gap in the United States. Services that may be available to help people in crisis in the community, including 988 Lifeline crisis contact centers, mobile crisis response services and crisis receiving and stabilization centers, are largely funded by individual states and localities. Some of these services, like mobile crisis response and crisis receiving and stabilization options, are not yet available in every community. To ensure people have access to these lifesaving resources, suicide prevention and mental health groups continue to call on states to continue to put permanent, sustainable state funding in place for the 988 Lifeline and the crisis continuum of care via monthly telecom fees on all phone bills, similar to how 911 is funded and as allowed for in the landmark National Suicide Hotline Designation Act of 2020.

“Today marks a significant milestone as we celebrate the signing of H. 657 in Vermont, the tenth state bill enacted to establish a permanent and sustainable state funding source for the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline,” said AFSP Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Laurel Stine. “By investing in 988, states are equipping their crisis response systems to meet growing community crisis needs and truly provide residents with someone to call, someone to respond and somewhere safe to go. This could not have been achieved without the tireless dedication of mental health and suicide prevention advocates, policymakers and partner organizations throughout the country. Today, we celebrate this milestone together and reaffirm our collective dedication to ensuring a robust 988 crisis response system is available nationwide.”

“Everyone experiencing a mental health crisis deserves a mental health response, and today is a joyous moment in our progress to make that a reality,” said NAMI Chief Executive Officer Daniel H. Gillison, Jr. “As the volume of people reaching out to the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline continues to increase, we must ensure every possible resource is available to the people who need it. NAMI is grateful for the bipartisan policymakers who jumped into action to sustainably fund the 988 Lifeline in one-fifth of states across the country. And we remain hopeful that more states will follow suit to ensure we can reimagine the response to mental health and suicide crises nationwide.”

“This is a big win for Vermonters and marks an important milestone on the journey to a strong crisis response system nationwide,” said Vice President of Partnerships and Innovation at Inseparable Keris Jän Myrick. “Having permanent, stable funding for the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline means there will always be someone to call in case of a mental health emergency. That is critical to ensuring no one’s worst day prevents them from living their best life.”

“It is a momentous occasion for Vermont to become the latest state to establish sustainable funding to support mental health emergencies in the same manner as physical health and public safety emergencies,” said Vibrant’s Interim Chief Executive Officer Alison Lewis. “State level investment in the crisis continuum, including 988 Lifeline crisis contact centers, ensures Vermonters can receive timely and tailored assistance when and how they need it. The rising volume of calls, texts, and chats to the 988 Lifeline, coupled with improved answer rates, highlights our success in quickly providing lifesaving help and reducing stigma. Robust, sustainable funding provides certainty to the dedicated crisis counselors, behavioral health professionals, family members, and individuals in crisis that there will be the resources necessary to save lives, and guarantees that anyone seeking help will always find a compassionate response and a safe place to turn.”

As the most recent state to introduce a monthly fee for the 988 Lifeline and related services, Vermont’s H. 657 allows a portion of monthly telecom fees charged to state residents to go toward funding 988 Lifeline crisis services in the state. This change will bring in an estimated additional $3 million in Fiscal Year 2026.

Vermont joins nine other states that now have small monthly fees on phone bills in place to help fund 988 Lifeline services, including (in order of when signed): Virginia (12 cents), Washington (40 cents), Nevada (35 cents), Colorado (14 cents), California (8 cents), Minnesota (12 cents), Oregon (40 cents), Delaware (60 cents), Maryland (25 cents) and Vermont (a portion of 72 cents). Vermont is the only state with a shared fund between 988 and other telecom services like 911.

To advance lifesaving policy solutions, more than 50 national organizations work collaboratively as part of the #ReimagineCrisis campaign to further advocacy efforts nationwide in support of the 988 Lifeline. #ReimagineCrisis partner organizations advocate nationwide with state policymakers to further expand 988 implementation efforts and to continue to enact permanent, sustainable funding mechanisms that will support the 988 Lifeline well into the future.

For more about the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, visit:




The National Alliance on Mental Illness is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness. Join the conversation: NAMI.org | Facebook.com/nami | Instagram.com/namicommunicate | Twitter.com/namicommunicate | TikTok.com/@nami | LinkedIn.com/company/nami | YouTube.com/NAMIvideo

About Vibrant Emotional Health

Vibrant Emotional Health is a non-profit organization that helps individuals and families achieve emotional wellbeing. For over 50 years, our groundbreaking solutions have delivered high-quality services and support when, where and how people need it. We offer confidential emotional support through our state-of-the-art contact center and crisis hotline services that use leading-edge telephone, text and web-based technologies, including the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, Disaster Distress Helpline, Veterans Crisis Line, and NFL Life Line. Through our community wellness programs, individuals and families obtain the support and skills they need to thrive. Our advocacy and education initiatives promote mental wellbeing as a social responsibility. We help nearly 5 million people live healthier and more vibrant lives each year. We’re advancing access, dignity and respect for all and revolutionizing the system for good. Visit vibrant.org. Follow Vibrant on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.


Inseparable is a national nonprofit working to advance mental health policy solutions that help people thrive, including by increasing access to care, improving crisis response, and promoting youth mental health. 

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide, including those who have experienced a loss. AFSP creates a culture that’s smart about mental health through public education and community programs, develops suicide prevention through research and advocacy, and provides support for those affected by suicide. Led by CEO Robert Gebbia and headquartered in New York, with a public policy office in Washington, DC, AFSP has local chapters in all 50 states, DC and Puerto Rico, with programs and events nationwide. Learn more about AFSP in its latest Annual Report and join the conversation on suicide prevention by following AFSP on Facebook, TwitterInstagram, YouTube, LinkedIn and TikTok.

Please fill out this press request form with media inquiries.

SOURCE American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Originally published at https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/leading-suicide-prevention-and-mental-health-organizations-celebrate-major-milestone-for-the-988-lifeline-and-crisis-response-302163684.html
Images courtesy of https://pixabay.com

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