HB2281, the LIVES Act, Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Kansas Suicide Prevention HQ Announces HB2281, the LIVES Act, Withdrawn from Kansas House Of Representatives Calendar

Lawrence, KS—March 8, 2020—HB2281, the LIVES Act was withdrawn from the House of Representatives calendar on Friday, March 5, 2021 and referred to the Committee on Appropriations. The LIVES Act would provide funding for the new three-digit mental health and suicide prevention crisis network, 988, as well as crisis mobile and stabilization services to create an alternative to hospitalizations and reduce the need for law enforcement to respond to mental health crises.

“This legislation presents an opportunity for Kansas to modernize its mental health service delivery system in a way that allows 988 to serve as the front door for people in crisis,” said Commissioner Andy Brown with the Kansas Department for Aging & Disability Services in testimony last week. “When Kansans call 988 we want to make sure their calls are answered here in Kansas.”

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) unanimously approved the designation of 988 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in July of 2020. The approval requires 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. Some carriers have already made the upgrade.

Estimates from Vibrant Emotional Health, administrators of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, estimate a significant increase to the call volume to the network of over 160 local crisis centers across the country including the Lifeline Crisis Center serving all 105 counties in Kansas, Kansas Suicide Prevention HQ. 988 will greatly improve access to crisis services for all Kansans, but additional funding will be needed to meet the growing demand.

“988 will usher in a new era for mental health services in our state,” says Steve Devore, President and CEO of Kansas Suicide Prevention HQ. “We can only rise to meet the demand with the support of all Kansans, our legislators, and the state government. This legislation should be moved back onto the floor for a vote. It will literally save lives, maybe the life of someone you know.”

14,412 calls from Kansas area codes were routed to Kansas Suicide Prevention HQ’s counseling center through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in 2020. As 988 comes online, estimates predict an increase to between 43,000-115,000 calls per year originating from callers in Kansas. More information is available at 988ks.org

Kansas Suicide Prevention HQ is dedicated to providing support, education, and crisis services for all with a goal of preventing suicide and saving lives. If you or someone you know is experiencing a suicidal or mental health crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The call is free and confidential.

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