SALEM, Ore. — The Oregon Health Authority says that it has received a $135,000 grant to aid in establishing a three-digit National Suicide Prevention hotline, set to launch in 2022.
Congress passed a bipartisan bill to establish 988 as a three-digit hotline number in May of 2020, and the number was approved by the Federal Communications Commission in July. The FCC stipulated that the number would go into effect nationwide two years later.
The state planning grant for OHA will help the state put together the resources, training, technical assistance, and infrastructure needed to put in place by 2020. The grant requires that Oregon begin planning for the transition this coming Monday.
The grant itself came from Vibrant Emotional Health, the non-profit organization that administers the current National Suicide Prevention hotline. Vibrant has awarded funds to 49 states and territories.
“We look forward to having another tool to help us save lives,” said OHA Director Patrick Allen. “We’re grateful to Vibrant for awarding these funds to help us move forward with our strategic planning and infrastructure to make 988 accessible to all Oregonians.”
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-TALK (8255), remains in effect. The three-digit 988 number will take its place when it becomes active in July of 2022.
“The recognition that mental health and addiction crises are as important and pervasive as physical health crises is a long time coming,” said OHA Behavioral Health Director Steve Allen. “The new 988 number is easy to learn and quick to use, allowing for a simple way to access crisis services for anyone struggling with a mental health or addiction emergency.”
OHA said that it is working with healthcare providers, local governments, emergency services, and other groups to create a plan — with the end goal of holding 988 to the same standards currently in place for 911.