NAMI Celebrates the Introduction of the 988 Implementation Act to Improve Crisis Services Nationwide
Mar 17 2022
Arlington, VA — The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) celebrates the introduction today of the 988 Implementation Act, an important, bipartisan legislative package that would improve mental health crisis services across the country ahead of the July rollout of 988.
“Far too many individuals, families and communities across the country experience a crisis response that doesn’t connect people to effective mental health crisis services,” said NAMI CEO Daniel H. Gillison Jr. “Instead, people cycle in and out of homelessness, hospitalization and incarceration. A person contemplating suicide or in crisis deserves help, not handcuffs.”
“The 988 Implementation Act is a critical piece of legislation that will help us realize the potential of 988 to truly help people in crisis connect to effective care and make sure everyone has someone to talk to, someone to respond and somewhere to go in a crisis. NAMI applauds the Representatives leading this effort to help turn that potential into the reality for people in crisis nationwide.”
NAMI calls upon the full House to take up the legislation quickly, and the Senate to quickly follow. The timing is critical with the 988 number available in every community starting in July. However, with expected increases in demand to the Lifeline once 988 is available, the system needs more capacity to answer calls and communities need more resources to provide a full continuum of crisis care. The 988 Implementation Act addresses these needs in a significant way.
The 988 Implementation Act focuses on building Lifeline capacity and related crisis services to connect people who dial 988 with local crisis services and supports during a mental health crisis, including:
- Funding the launch, infrastructure, and modernization of the new 988 hotline through support for regional and local crisis call centers and providing resources for specialized services for underserved populations.
- Ensuring people have access to crisis care by requiring all health insurance plans to cover crisis services.
- Expanding the Mental Health Crisis Response Partnership Pilot Program to create or enhance mobile crisis team response, connecting people in crisis to help and stabilization.
- Supporting behavioral health crisis response on the ground through grants that support capital projects, including crisis receiving and stabilization programs and call centers.
- Creates a national suicide prevention awareness campaign, including awareness around 988, in partnership with a wide array of stakeholders.
The 988 Implementation Act was introduced by Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-CA), and co-sponsored by Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA), Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE), Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA), Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) and Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD).
Note: 988 will not be available to everyone until July 16, 2022. In the meantime, if you or someone you know is in crisis, please continue to contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (En Español: 1-888-628-9454; Deaf and Hard of Hearing: dial 711 then 1-800-273-8255) or the Crisis Text Line by texting NAMI to 741741.