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H.R. 2345 (115th): National Suicide Hotline Improvement Act of 2018


The text of the bill below is as of May 3, 2017 (Introduced).

Summary of this bill

Source: Republican Policy Committee

H.R. 2345 would direct the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), in consultation with Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), to study and report on the feasibility of designating a three-digit dialing code to be used for a national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline system. In conducting this study, the FCC would be directed to consider each of the current N11 designations, to consult with the North American Numbering Council (NANC), 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.


I

115th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 2345

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

May 3, 2017

(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

A BILL

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.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the National Suicide Hotline Improvement Act of 2017.

2.

Findings

Congress finds the following:

(1)

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, suicide rates in the United States have surged to their highest levels in nearly 30 years.

(2)

The overall suicide rate rose by 24 percent from 1999 to 2014.

(3)

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1–800–273–TALK [8255]), 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.

(4)

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.

(5)

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.

(6)

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.

3.

Definitions

In this Act—

(1)

the term Assistant Secretary means the Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use;

(2)

the term Commission means the Federal Communications Commission;

(3)

the term covered dialing code means a simple, easy-to-remember, 3-digit dialing code; and

(4)

the term N11 dialing code means an abbreviated dialing code consisting of 3 digits, of which—

(A)

the first digit may be any digit other than 1 or 0; and

(B)

each of the last 2 digits is 1.

4.

FCC study and report

(a)

Study

(1)

In general

The Commission, in coordination with the Assistant Secretary, shall conduct a study that—

(A)

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

(B)

analyzes the effectiveness of the current National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, including how well the lifeline is working to address the needs of veterans.

(2)

Requirements

In conducting the study under paragraph (1), the Commission shall—

(A)

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—

(i)

suicide prevention;

(ii)

crisis services;

(iii)

the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline; and

(iv)

the Veterans Crisis Line;

(B)

consider—

(i)

each of the N11 dialing codes, including the codes that are used for other purposes; and

(ii)

other covered dialing codes;

(C)

consult with the North American Numbering Council; and

(D)

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.

(b)

Report

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—

(1)

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;

(2)

outlines the logistics of designating such a dialing code;

(3)

estimates the costs associated with designating such a dialing code, including—

(A)

the costs incurred by service providers, including—

(i)

translation changes in the network; and

(ii)

cell site analysis and reprogramming by wireless carriers; and

(B)

the costs incurred by States and localities;

(4)

provides legislative recommendations for designating such a dialing code;

(5)

provides a cost-benefit analysis comparing the recommended dialing code with the current National Suicide Prevention Lifeline; and

(6)

makes other recommendations for improving the national suicide prevention lifeline system generally, which may include—

(A)

increased funding;

(B)

increased public education and awareness; and

(C)

improved infrastructure and operations.