The U.S. House of Representatives today 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 ten-digit number.
Passage of the bill authorizes the funding mechanisms needed for 988 to be successful and it 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.
Sam Brinton (they/them pronouns), Vice President of Advocacy and Government Affairs for The Trevor Project, commended Congress in a statement saying, in part, “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.
The Trevor Project is the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people.
According to The Trevor Project’s 2020 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health:
- 40% of respondents seriously considered attempting suicide in the past twelve months, with more than half of transgender and nonbinary youth having seriously considered it
- 68% of LGBTQ youth reported symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder in the past two weeks, including more than 3 in 4 transgender and nonbinary youth
- 48% of LGBTQ youth reported engaging in self-harm in the past twelve months, including over 60% of transgender and nonbinary youth
- 1 in 3 LGBTQ youth reported that they had been physically threatened or harmed in their lifetime due to their LGBTQ identity
- 46% of youth report they wanted psychological or emotional counseling from a mental health professional but were unable to receive it in the past twelve months
(via The Trevor Project)