U.S. House Approves Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Beyond the Carolinas

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Sept. 21 the U.S. House of Representatives passed The National Suicide Hotline Designation Act, which when implemented will allow Americans to simply dial “988” to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, instead of the current 10-digit number. Passed by the Senate in May and now the House, this is the first bill that is specifically LGBTQ-inclusive to pass Congress unanimously in history, The Trevor Project said.

The FCC formally approved a two-year phase-in plan for the new 988 number on July 16. The passage of this bill was a necessary, concurrent step as it authorizes the funding mechanisms needed for 988 to be successful, and contains several key LGBTQ-inclusive provisions, including requirements for LGBTQ cultural competency training for all Lifeline counselors and the establishment of an Integrated Voice Response option for LGBTQ youth and other high-risk populations to reach specialized care.

“This passage is a historic victory, as this is the first explicitly LGBTQ-inclusive bill to pass unanimously in history — and 988 will undoubtedly save countless lives. … This vital legislation will require the Lifeline to provide specialized services for LGBTQ youth and other high-risk groups, and make it so much easier for millions of Americans to find support in moments of crisis. We express our sincere gratitude to Congressmen Moulton and Stewart for their leadership in championing the expansion of suicide prevention resources,” said Sam Brinton, vice president of Advocacy and Government Affairs for The Trevor Project.

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According to The Trevor Project’s 2020 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health: 40 percent of respondents seriously considered attempting suicide in the past 12 months, with more than half of transgender and non-binary youth having seriously considered it; 68 percent of LGBTQ youth reported symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder in the past two weeks, including more than 3 in 4 transgender and non-binary youth; 48 percent of LGBTQ youth reported engaging in self-harm in the past 12 months, including over 60 percent of transgender and non-binary youth; 1 in 3 LGBTQ youth reported that they had been physically threatened or harmed in their lifetime due to their LGBTQ identity; and 46 percent of youth report they wanted psychological or emotional counseling from a mental health professional but were unable to receive it in the past 12 months.

info: thetrevorproject.org.

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Posted by Lainey Millen

Lainey Millen is QNotes' associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director. She can be reached at specialassignments@goqnotes.com and 704-531-9988, x205.

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