11.25.19

Gardner Discusses 9-8-8 Hotline with Rocky Mountain Crisis Partners

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) recently met with Rocky Mountain Crisis Partners in Denver to discuss his bipartisan bill to establish 9-8-8 as the national suicide prevention hotline.

Rocky Mountain Crisis Partners

“It was great to meet with Rocky Mountain Crisis Partners to discuss how we can best deliver mental health services and learn more about the ways in which they support Coloradans in need,” said Senator Gardner. “Approximately every seven hours, a Coloradan dies by suicide. We must do more to destigmatize access to mental health resources and prevent suicides in our country. Establishing 9-8-8 as a national suicide prevention hotline will save lives and help more Americans in need access critical mental health support.”

“At Rocky Mountain Crisis Partners, we are proud to be the provider of Colorado Crisis Services and Suicide Prevention Lifeline for Colorado. It is critical that all Coloradoans and everyone have easy access to professional and effective suicide prevention services. A three-digit number will definitely be easier to remember and will result in significant utilization for a whole continuum of questions and needs related to behavioral health. It is critical to have adequate capacity, expertise and follow-up for this service to move the needle in suicide prevention. The ease of number conversation cannot be had without the discussion of funding, infrastructure and evaluation,” said Bev Marquez, CEO of Rocky Mountain Crisis Partners.

Background:

  • In 2018, Gardner voted for the National Suicide Hotline Improvement Act, which directed the Federal Communications Commission to evaluate using a three-digit dialing code for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
  • This August, the FCC released their report, which found that a national three-digit line would improve suicide prevention and recommended a simple number that Americans could dial in times of crisis: 9-8-8.
  • In October, Senators Gardner, Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Jerry Moran (R-KS), and Jack Reed (D-RI) introduced S. 2661, the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act, which designates 9-8-8 for a national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline and ensures states have the flexibility to strengthen local crisis call centers. The bill ensures states are able to collect fees for the line, similar to the way they do for the 911 emergency line, and requires reports to Congress to help ensure effectiveness and operability of the line.
  • This month, nearly 50 mental health organizations and veterans support organizations announced their support and urged Congress to pass the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act.
  • At a press conference last week with Senator Gardner, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai announced the FCC will consider establishing 9-8-8 as the national suicide prevention hotline at their meeting on December 12, 2019. 

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Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. Senate serving Colorado. He sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy.