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'9-8-8': National Suicide Hotline reform signed into law

Posted at 5:20 PM, Oct 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-20 18:22:18-04

WISCONSIN — The bipartisan National Suicide Hotline Reform has been signed into law, therefore making 9-8-8 a national crisis hotline.

The U.S. Senate passed the three-digit crisis hotline reform back in May, with the House of Representatives passing it in September. Now, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has finalized the technical implementation of 9-8-8 as the nationwide number.

Prior to this reform, the crisis hotline was 10-digits long, which can be a barrier to American's seeking help. With the new hotline, those in crisis can simply dial 9-8-8 for help.

Additionally, veterans will be able to dial 1 after dialing 9-8-8 to be connected to the veteran's crisis hotline.

In a press release, Senator Tammy Baldwin said, "I’m very proud our bipartisan legislation has finally been signed into law, so we can make it as quick and easy as possible for Americans in crisis to get the help and support they need through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and the Veterans Crisis Line."

According to Baldwin, the U.S. loses about 45,000 people every year to suicide, including more than 6,100 veterans, making it one of the leading causes of death in this country. An average of 17 veterans commit suicide every day, according to the senator.

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