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Advocacy

988 Officially Becomes Law!

BY: Josh Weaver
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On October 17th, The Trevor Project celebrated the official signing of The National Suicide Hotline Designation Act, which will allow Americans to simply dial ‘988’ to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, instead of the current ten-digit number (800-273-8255), starting in July 2022. Passed by the Senate in May and the House of Representatives in September, this is the first bill that is specifically LGBTQ-inclusive to pass Congress unanimously in history.

“The Trevor Project is thrilled to see the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act — the first explicitly LGBTQ-inclusive bill to ever pass Congress unanimously — officially signed into law. We will continue to work closely with SAMHSA and the FCC to ensure that the bill’s recommendation of specialized services for LGBTQ youth is formally incorporated into the 988 implementation plan and that this life-saving, three-digit number remains on-track to go live in July 2022,” said Sam Brinton (they/them pronouns), Vice President of Advocacy and Government Affairs for The Trevor Project.

The FCC’s formal approval of 988 in July set its two-year phase-in plan in motion, but the passage and signage of this legislation was a necessary, concurrent step as it authorizes the funding mechanisms needed for 988 to be successful and contains specialized services for high-risk groups like LGBTQ youth.

The Trevor Project estimates that more than 1.8 million LGBTQ youth between the ages of 13 and 24 in the U.S. seriously consider suicide each year and could benefit from our services. And according to the organization’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.

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