December 12, 2019

Moulton Statement on FCC's Unanimous Vote for 988 Mental Health Hotline and Senate Markup of 988 Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Representative Seth Moulton (D-MA), who co-wrote The National Suicide Hotline Designation Act with Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT), applauded the FCC for its unanimous decision to approve 9-8-8 as the 3-digit number for a national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline.

The decision comes just one day after the Senate’s Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee approved a companion version of Moulton’s legislation, a key step in the legislative process.

“If your house is on fire, you don’t have to look up the fire department’s number. You just dial 911. It should be the same for mental health emergencies,” Moulton said. “Today’s FCC ruling and yesterday’s Senate markup are huge steps forward for the plan to make 988 the number everyone in America knows to call in an emergency or with urgent questions about mental health care. I’m working with my House colleagues to save lives by passing this bill immediately.” 

Earlier this year, Moulton and Stewart introduced The National Suicide Hotline Designation Act which would authorize the use of the number and allow states to collect fees to fund call centers and train call-center operators.

Moulton announced the bill’s introduction at Samaritans Boston, a call center that serves the region he represents for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Moulton and Stewart also published an op-ed in The Washington Post to make the case for why Congress should pass the bill.

In October, Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Jerry Moran (R-KS), and Jack Reed (D-RI) introduced S. 2661, a companion bill in the Senate.

Yesterday the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation marked-up and approved the bill unanimously, a key step towards passage.