Stephens-Supported Legislation to Establish 988 Suicide Prevention & Mental Health Crisis System Trust Fund Passes House

Image from National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

SPRINGFIELD – Legislation co-sponsored by State Representative Brad Stephens (R-Rosemont) to establish a trust fund in the State treasury for establishing a state 9-8-8 suicide prevention and mental health crisis system passed out of the House of Representatives on Wednesday. Senate Bill 2945 was introduced by Representative Fran Hurley (D-Chicago) and is the Statewide 9-8-8 Trust Fund Act.

“I co-sponsored this legislation to address the tragedy of suicide in our state,” said Rep. Stephens. “Too many lives have been lost due to suicide. This will fund the 9-8-8 system launching in July to provide lifesaving support to individuals experiencing mental health crises and I’m proud to co-sponsor this legislation to help make this program a reality.”

SB 2945 will establish a fund to provide money to establish and maintain a statewide 988 system that is pursuant to the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act of 2020, the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) rules adopted in July 2020, and national guidelines for crisis care. This Fund will consist of appropriations from the General Assembly, grants, and other sources.

According to the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS), the operator of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (Lifeline), Vibrant, awarded IDHS’s Division of Mental Health a grant to plan for 988’s implementation. 988 is a national 3-digit dialing code for the Lifeline and for individuals who are experiencing mental health crises. This system will roll out in July 2022 and is not currently operational.

If you are thinking about suicide, are worried about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline network is available 24/7 across the United States—talk to someone now (800-273-TALK (800-273-8255)).