The California chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety, released the following statement applauding the California State Senate for passing important crisis hotline legislation. AB 988, the Miles Hall Lifeline and Suicide Prevention Act, creates an implementation plan for 9-8-8 mental health crisis hotline in California. The bill will create an alternative dispatch crisis hotline for mental health calls that do not require a direct line to law enforcement. The bill will need to be concurred before moving on to Governor Newsom’s desk.
“Over half of firearm deaths in America are suicide,” said Lisa Henry, a volunteeer with the California chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Implementing this suicide and crisis hotline will save lives. We thank Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, a Moms Demand Action volunteer herself, for her leadership, and the entire state legislature for prioritizing this life saving legislation.”
988, the new three-digit national dialing, texting, and chat code crisis hotline is for anyone experiencing suicidal thoughts or mental health-related crises. The dialing code lifeline increases accessibility to life-saving interventions and resources. Six out of every 10 gun deaths in the U.S. are suicides, resulting in an average of 64 deaths a day, and guns are the most lethal method of suicide. Additionally, access to a firearm triples the risk of suicide.
The 988 National Crisis Hotline rolled out in July, and is funded through the Biden-Harris Administration’s $432 million investment in mental health services, funding from the Department of Health and Humans Services workforce provided by the American Rescue plan, and $150 million secured through the historic Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which President Joe Biden signed in June 2022. States must pass legislation to implement 988, including telecommunications fees and systems. California is leading the country in passing bills to put the crisis line into motion.
California continues to be a national leader in gun violence prevention policy. Already in the 2022 legislative session, twelve gun safety bills have been passed, and subsequently signed by Governor Newsom. These bills include SB 1327, which creates a private right of action to allow individuals to sue people who violate certain California firearm laws; AB 2571, legislation to prohibit the gun industry from marketing firearms to minors; AB 2156, which cracks down on unlicensed manufacturers; AB 1621, legislation to further regulate ghost guns; and AB 1594, legislation to establish accountability for the firearm industry.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24/7 at 988, 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or suicidepreventionlifeline.org. You may also contact the Crisis Text Line, which provides trained crisis counseling services over text 24/7. Text HOME to 741741 from anywhere in the US crisistextline.org.
More information about gun suicide is available here. To speak with an expert, please don’t hesitate to reach out.