Murray secured $5 billion dollars for mental health in a bipartisan funding package—including a significant increase for the 988 Lifeline
ICYMI: Last month Senator Murray held a roundtable at a Seattle crisis hotline center with Sec. Becerra and highlighted the need for a stronger federal mental health response
Murray: “When you are struggling, it makes all the difference in the world to know there is someone you can talk to who will listen and help you get the care you need—and that’s what the 988 suicide and crisis lifeline is all about.”
Washington, D.C. – Today, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP), released the following statement on the launch of the new 988 suicide and crisis lifeline.
“Getting mental health care is a serious challenge for people across Washington state and across the country, especially as our nation’s mental health crisis has worsened during the pandemic. So many people—particularly young people—are just not doing okay. When you are struggling, it makes all the difference in the world to know there is someone you can talk to who will listen and help you get the care you need—and that’s what the 988 suicide and crisis lifeline is all about.
“That’s why I pushed so hard to establish this new 988 number for the suicide lifeline, and to provide additional resources in our bipartisan funding bill earlier this year to get ready for its launch. It’s also why it was important to me for Secretary Becerra to hear directly from crisis line operators in Seattle last month about the lifesaving work they do, and the federal support they need.
“Starting tomorrow, people facing a mental health crisis can call or text 988 to talk to someone and get the support they need. 988 will make the national lifeline easier than ever to reach—and help make sure everyone has someone to turn to. But this is just one step of many we must take to address our nation’s mental health and substance use disorder crisis. We also need to be clear-eyed about the current strain on our mental health system—I am going to keep working to strengthen the new 988 Lifeline to make sure it works as intended, and to pass other steps to support families and save lives.”
Last month, Senator Murray hosted a roundtable at Crisis Connections, a crisis hotline center in Seattle where Secretary Becerra heard from Washington state mental health professionals on the front lines of their communities’ mental health challenges.
Senator Murray has consistently spoken out about the need to address the mental health and substance use disorder crises that are hurting people all across the country. She has championed efforts in Congress to provide more support for communities responding to the mental health crisis and fought to secure over $5 billion dollars for federal mental health and substance use disorder programs in the recent, bipartisan government funding bill. The funding she secured included $101.6 million for the Suicide Prevention Lifeline to successfully transition to 988, a $77.6 million increase.
As Chair of the Senate HELP Committee, she worked to secure significant investments in mental health in the recently passed Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. She is also working on a bipartisan package to strengthen mental health services for children and youth, continue improving suicide screening and prevention to save lives, make it easier for people to get mental health care, and much more. Senator Murray has held two hearings this year focused on addressing the mental health crisis, and at a hearing on President Biden’s budget request pressed Secretary Becerra on the administration’s plans to tackle the crisis.