House passes legislation increasing funding for Suicide Prevention Lifeline

House passes legislation increasing funding for Suicide Prevention Lifeline

The U.S. House passed bipartisan a bill Monday that would increase authorized funding for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline from $12 million to $50 million.

The Suicide Prevention Lifeline Improvement Act also would require the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) to develop and implement a plan that would eliminate call wait times and increase quality assurance. The agency would ensure resources are available to friends and family of those in crisis, create guidelines for periodically testing the lifeline, and implement evidence-based practices.

The bill would create a pilot program to examine and employ technologies that can be used for suicide prevention.

The lifeline and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would be required to conduct data sharing.

Finally, the bill would require HHS and the U.S. Government Accountability Office report to Congress recommendations for improvement to the Lifeline’s operations and how HHS’ plan has been implemented.

“I’m pleased to announce the passage of my bill, the Suicide Prevention Lifeline Act,” U.S. Rep. John Katko (R-NY), who introduced the bill, said.

Rising rates of suicide and limited funding have made it difficult for call centers to provide quality and timely support, Katko said.

This bill moves to the Senate for consideration.