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Suicide Prevention

APA-supported mental health and suicide prevention bills signed into law

The new laws designate ‘988’ as the national hotline number for suicide intervention and aim to improve staffing at the VA.

Cite this
American Psychological Association. (2020, November 2). APA-supported mental health and suicide prevention bills signed into law. http://www.apaservices.org/advocacy/news/suicide-prevention-bills
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On Oct. 17, President Trump signed into law two APA-supported bills: the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act and the Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act. These landmark bills will make it easier for people in crisis to receive mental health care and will improve staffing of psychologists at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), respectively.
APA has been on the front lines supporting the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act, calling on President Trump to sign the bill into law as quickly as possible. The law designates ‘988’ as the national hotline number for suicide intervention (the current number is 1-800-273-8255, press 1 for veterans). This shorter number will make it easier for people in crisis and their families to access the help they need, without having to remember a long 1-800 number. The 988 hotline is not yet in operation, but the law requires that it be functional within one year.

The Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act includes APA-supported initiatives to improve VA staffing, including a scholarship program for psychology students who commit to work at Vet Centers, a study on alternative work schedules, and a staffing plan for all mental health providers.

For more information, please contact Sophie Friedl.