FCC approves 988

For Immediate Release:
Kansas Suicide Prevention HQ announces FCC approval of 988 as the new National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 3-digit Number.

Lawrence, KS, July 21, 2020— The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) unanimously approved designation of 988 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on Thursday, July 16, 2020. These rules require all telephone service providers to enable the designation of 988 as a national suicide prevention and mental health crisis line within 2 years, effective July 16, 2022.

Kansas Suicide Prevention HQ’s counseling center, Headquarters Counseling Center joined the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Network at its inception in 2004. When a call is placed to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, soon to be 988, calls are routed by area code to that number’s local crisis center. Kansas Suicide Prevention HQ (KSPHQ) remains home to the crisis center serving all Kansas area codes and will become the 988 crisis center for all Kansans.

“As the local crisis center for all Kansans calling the Lifeline for help, we are excited by the possibility of 988 making it easier for all Kansans to access mental health crisis services, increasing the effectiveness of crisis services, and reducing the stigma around mental health,” says Steve Devore, President and CEO of Kansas Suicide Prevention HQ. “We look forward to partnering with legislators, businesses, and individuals throughout the state to support and fund 988 in Kansas to ensure the highest quality of services to all of our neighbors across the state.”

In 2019, KSPHQ received nearly 14,000 calls through the Lifeline from 101 of Kansas’ 105 counties, an increase of 55% since 2015, and project a doubling of calls to the Lifeline network over the next four to five years after 988 comes online. The FCC has assigned 988 as a number but does not provide a direction for building the required infrastructure. Congress is considering
legislation, Suicide Hotline Designation Act S.2661 and/or its mirroring House Bill, H.R. 4194, to address infrastructure needs related to 988 services and operations. Currently, there is no additional funding offered to members of the Lifeline network.

Until 988 is online, the NSPL, 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or KSPHQ’s counseling center, Headquarters Counseling Center, 785-841-2345 is available 24/7 for free and confidential help for anyone in crisis, considering suicide, concerned about someone else, or in need of emotional support regarding anything going on in their lives. One can also get connected to online chat, learn more about the Lifeline and KSPHQ, or get involved with suicide prevention in Kansas at KSPHQ.org. KSPHQ wants all Kansans to know that they are not alone, they are valued, and that help is just a phone call away.

Contact, Press only:
Allan Bunch, Vice President of Communications and Development
785-841-9900 ext. 101

Kansas Suicide Prevention HQ, formerly Headquarters, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization

More information can be found at 988Kansas.org