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Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America Announces National Suicide Hotline Legislation Signed Into Law

New 9-8-8 Number to Ease Access for Individuals, Veterans, in Distress

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
October 19, 2020
CONTACT: press@iava.org

New York, NY – Today Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) celebrated the enactment of the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act (S. 2661), which designates 9-8-8 as the national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline. Congress recently passed the IAVA-backed bill and President Trump signed it into law on October 17.

The new law will help ensure that individuals and families, including veterans, experiencing mental health distress would be able to easily access help and resources. In addition to designating the new three-digit 9-8-8 as the national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline, it would include the Veterans Crisis Line for veteran-specific mental health support. It would also authorize states to collect fees to support implementation of 9-8-8.

Until the Federal Communications Commission finalizes the technical implementation of 9-8-8 as the nationwide number, anyone seeking help should still call 1-800-273-8255. Veterans should press 1 following that number.

“IAVA would like to express our great appreciation to U.S. Sens. Cory Gardner (R-CO), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Jerry Moran (R-KS), and Jack Reed (D-RI) for sponsoring this critical, bipartisan legislation and ensuring that it was signed into law by President Trump,” said IAVA CEO Jeremy Butler. “IAVA was proud to join with many in the nation’s mental health community to advocate for this timely legislation, as COVID-19 adds considerable life stressors upon American families.”

IAVA is the voice for the post-9/11 veteran generation. With over 400,000 veterans and allies nationwide, IAVA is the leader in non-partisan veteran advocacy and public awareness. We drive historic impacts for veterans and IAVA’s programs are second to none. Any veteran or family member in need can reach out to IAVA’s Quick Reaction Force at quickreactionforce.org or 855-91RAPID (855-917-2743) to be connected promptly with a veteran care manager who will assist. IAVA’s The Vote Hub is a free tool to register to vote and find polling information. IAVA’s membership is always growing. Join the movement at iava.org/membership.

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