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Proposed Bill Provides Hoosiers With Three-Digit Suicide Hotline

Alternative phone number for emergencies in Monroe County is 812-349-3332.

Hoosiers experiencing suicidal thoughts could have better access to crisis services if a proposed bill passes the U.S. House.

Democratic Senator Joe Donnelly is co-sponsor of The National Suicide Hotline Improvement Act. It would require the Federal Communications Commission to assess the current suicide hotline system and recommends introducing a three-digit number for the hotline to replace the current 1-800 number.

Tami Silverman is the President and CEO of the Indiana Youth Institute. She says suicide is prevalent in Indiana, especially among youth.

“Suicide particularly for our teenagers is a critically important issue right now,” Silverman says. “Unfortunately it was the second leading cause for Indiana kids ages 15 to 24, so this is something we are highly concerned about and that we think needs some more attention.”

The proposed bill would require the FCC to coordinate with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration and consult with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Silverman says focusing on suicide is important and this bill will bring more attention to the issue at a federal level.

“There used to be a stigma around talking about suicide with the concept that if we talk about it it would put an idea into a child’s head and we’ve learned that that’s really not the case. In fact, the more we talk about it the more we can all help prevent it,” Silverman says.

The U.S. Senate passed the bill earlier this month. It now goes to the House for approval.

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