Sen. Laura Fine

SPRINGFIELD – Individuals in crisis nationwide will soon be able to utilize a 9-8-8 universal hotline number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which would be funded and maintained in Illinois under legislation sponsored by State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview).

“A fully functioning and well-funded crisis hotline is critical to prevent suicides nationwide,” Senator Fine said. “Mental health is as important as physical health, and 9-8-8 will soon become a household number that is as easily remembered in times of crisis as 9-1-1.”

Senator Fine’s measure would create the Statewide 9-8-8 Trust Fund in the State Treasury, which would be used by the Department of Human Services to establish and maintain a statewide 9-8-8 suicide prevention and mental health crisis system.

“The 9-8-8 Lifeline will prioritize suicide prevention by increasing access to behavioral and mental health resources and treatments," Senator Fine said. "This legislation will provide people with the support they need and save lives."

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s 9-8-8 number will be live across the nation by July 2022, pursuant to the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act of 2020. However, people in crisis should continue to call the Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) until then.

SB 2945 passed the Behavioral and Mental Health Committee on Tuesday and now goes to the full Senate.