WASHINGTON, D.C. – Ahead of the one-year anniversary of 988’s nationwide availability, U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) is being honored as a “988 Crisis Response Champion” by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and the #ReimagineCrisis Campaign. A dedicated advocate for suicide prevention and mental health care, Senator Reed is being recognized for his leadership in making the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline more accessible by successfully transitioning it from a ten digit phone number to a simplified three-digits: 988.
“Mental health care is health care. When we worked to create the 988 hotline, we wanted to ensure those experiencing a mental health crisis or having suicidal thoughts can quickly and easily access the help they need, ” said Senator Reed. “I am honored to receive this award and am grateful for NAMI and AFSP for their advocacy that helped to make the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline a reality.”
As the one-year milestone of nationwide availability nears for the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, this award celebrates the tremendous commitment and leadership from Senator Reed that has gone into developing comprehensive mental health crisis services.
Senator Reed co-authored the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act (Public Law No: 116-172) with Senators Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) in 2020 with then-Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) to designate 988 as a national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline.
To help strengthen the national network of crisis centers that field calls to 988, Senators Reed, Moran, and Baldwin also helped deliver federal capacity-building grants for states to boost staffing and implement technology upgrades.
Since its launch on July 16, 2022, more than 4 million contacts have been routed to the 988 Lifeline, ensuring that people in crisis can reach a trained crisis counselor, a testament to the incredible impact made possible when federal, state and local officials work together.
“If we truly want to reimagine how our communities respond to people experiencing a mental health or suicide crisis, Congress must continue to build on its incredible progress to support the 988 Lifeline,” said NAMI Chief Executive Officer Daniel H. Gillison Jr. “NAMI is grateful for the leadership of Senator Reed to do just this, and we’re honored to recognize him as a 988 Crisis Response Champion.”
“The 988 Lifeline has reached a critical milestone, having connected millions of people in the United States over the past year with crisis counselors who are trained to help them through a mental health or suicide crisis,” said AFSP Chief Executive Officer Robert Gebbia. “Strengthening our nation’s crisis response system is vitally important, and it’s because of the leadership of Senator Reed that the successful transition to the 988 Lifeline has significantly advanced efforts to build out our crisis care infrastructure. AFSP celebrates him as a 988 Crisis Response Champion, and we look forward to continuing to work with Senator Reed to make sure that everyone struggling with their mental health is connected to the support and services they need.”