WICHITA, Kan. – Today, Governor Laura Kelly ceremonially signed Senate Bill 19, bipartisan legislation that launches 9-8-8 as the official 24/7 three-digit dialing code for the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.
Beginning Saturday, July 16, Kansans and all Americans can call 9-8-8 during mental health and substance abuse emergencies. Governor Kelly joined Sedgwick County Commissioners, legislators, and local advocates for the celebration at the Sedgwick County Courthouse.
“With 9-8-8, we are on the path to reversing our country’s mental health crisis and getting Kansans the help they need,” Governor Kelly said. “Just as every American knows to call 9-1-1 in times of emergency, every American – and every Kansan – will soon know to call 9-8-8 when they or a loved one is facing a mental health or substance abuse crisis.”
Governor Kelly announced in January of this year that the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) received the Lifeline’s 9-8-8 State Planning Grant through the nonprofit Vibrant Emotional Health to develop plans to build the infrastructure for and grow access to the Lifeline’s new three-digit 9-8-8 number.
Governor Kelly signed SB 19 in June so that going forward, each July 1 $10 million in state general funds will be appropriated to fund 9-8-8 with no access fee for Kansans.
The new “9-8-8 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline” will connect callers to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and offer a broader range of services for people experiencing a mental health crisis or substance use crisis. Callers will be connected to resources in their local community and to in-person crisis services where available. Kansans who dial 9-8-8 will be routed to a local crisis specialist trained to address unique concerns and needs, which may include assessment, stabilization, referral, and follow-up.
Individuals will still be able to access the 10-digit National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) after the July 16 implementation of 9-8-8. The current Lifeline and 9-8-8 will be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week via call, text, or chat.