Instances of mental health crises and suicides have been trending upward for more than a decade in the United States. This has been accelerated over the past two years of navigating through a pandemic. Marginalized groups continue to be disproportionately impacted and underserved including communities of color and LGBTQ+ youth and adults.
In response to this mental health crisis, the National Suicide Hotline Improvement Act was passed and signed into law in 2018. It set into motion years of planning and in 2020 Congress designated 988 as America’s suicide prevention and mental health crisis lifeline set to go live in July.
When people call, text, or chat 988, they will be connected to trained counselors that are part of the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline network. This opportunity represents more than creating an easy-to-remember way to reach out for quality, accessible help. It also creates opportunities to strengthen whole-person care, linking those in crisis to a wide range of community-based behavioral health services from crisis response to early intervention and prevention services.
This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to strengthen and expand our behavioral health system of care. The federal government has left the majority of implementation, and funding, up to the states. Join our panel of thought leaders and experts to learn more about 988, its impact on communities, and how philanthropy can help ensure maximum impact while addressing disparities.
Rep. Rob Nosse, Oregon State House of Representatives, Welcoming Remarks
Rusha Grinstead, BH Crisis System & 988 Lead, Oregon Health Authority
Lorez Meinhold, Executive Director, Caring for Denver Foundation