H. R. 2345
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
May 3, 2017
Mr. Stewart (for himself, Ms. Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas, Mr. McKinley, Mrs. Napolitano, Ms. Sinema, Mr. Grijalva, Mr. Thompson of Pennsylvania, and Mr. Bishop of Utah) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce
To require the Federal Communications Commission to study the feasibility of designating a simple, easy-to-remember dialing code to be used for a national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline system.
This Act may be cited as the
National Suicide Hotline Improvement Act of 2017.
Congress finds the following:
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, suicide rates in the United States have surged to their highest levels in nearly 30 years.
The overall suicide rate rose by 24 percent from 1999 to 2014.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1–800–273–TALK ), created under the leadership of the Center for Mental Health Services of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (commonly known as
SAMHSA), is a network of 161 crisis centers that provide a toll-free hotline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to anyone experiencing a mental health or suicidal emergency or crisis.
In 1967, the President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice recommended the creation of a single telephone number that could be used nationwide for reporting emergencies.
In 1968, the Federal Communications Commission agreed upon the number 9–1–1, one of eight N11 dialing codes, as a simple, easy-to-remember telephone number to be the dedicated number for reporting emergencies, and 9–1–1 became the national emergency number for individuals in the United States to access police, fire, and ambulance services.
Based on the success of the 9–1–1 nationwide emergency number, a study by the Federal Communications Commission regarding the use of a simple, easy-to-remember dedicated 3-digit dialing code for a suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline system would be beneficial in the prevention of suicide nationwide.
In this Act—
the term Assistant Secretary means the Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use;
the term Commission means the Federal Communications Commission;
the term covered dialing code means a simple, easy-to-remember, 3-digit dialing code; and
the term N11 dialing code means an abbreviated dialing code consisting of 3 digits, of which—
the first digit may be any digit other than
each of the last 2 digits is
FCC study and report
The Commission, in coordination with the Assistant Secretary, shall conduct a study that—
examines the feasibility of designating an N11 dialing code or other covered dialing code to be used for a national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline system; and
analyzes the effectiveness of the current National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, including how well the lifeline is working to address the needs of veterans.
In conducting the study under paragraph (1), the Commission shall—
request that the Assistant Secretary study and report to the Commission on the potential impact of the designation of an N11 dialing code, or other covered dialing code, for a suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline system on—
the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline; and
the Veterans Crisis Line;
each of the N11 dialing codes, including the codes that are used for other purposes; and
other covered dialing codes;
consult with the North American Numbering Council; and
consult with the Secretary of Veterans Affairs with respect to how well the current National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is working to address the needs of veterans.
Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Commission shall submit to Congress a report on the study conducted under subsection (a) that—
recommends a particular N11 dialing code or other covered dialing code to be used for a national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline system;
outlines the logistics of designating such a dialing code;
estimates the costs associated with designating such a dialing code, including—
the costs incurred by service providers, including—
translation changes in the network; and
cell site analysis and reprogramming by wireless carriers; and
the costs incurred by States and localities;
provides legislative recommendations for designating such a dialing code;
provides a cost-benefit analysis comparing the recommended dialing code with the current National Suicide Prevention Lifeline; and
makes other recommendations for improving the national suicide prevention lifeline system generally, which may include—
increased public education and awareness; and
improved infrastructure and operations.