26 States Have Passed Laws to Support the 988 Suicide Hotline

Maryland has moved two laws through the 2022 and 2023 legislative sessions on behalf of the Congressional mandate from 2020 requiring implementation of the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. 

In October of 2020, Congress passed the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act mandating the three-digit calling code for the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. The program was officially launched in July of 2022, and as part of the roll out, states were responsible for addressing necessary components for implementation, such as funding, workgroups to drive 988 policy, and integrating 988 into existing crisis call systems. The National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP) has compiled a chart of all the legislation that has been passed so far in 26 states, including Maryland, as governments work to support this lifesaving resource.

Maryland passed two bills to move the program forward over the last two legislative sessions. SB 241 from 2022 established the fund for the program and in 2023 HB 271 required the Governor to make an appropriation of $12M to the fund from the fiscal year 2025 budget. In accordance with most other states, Maryland does not have a telecommunications fee for the service.

The chart shows the function of all the bills passed in each state as well as a look at how much money is being earmarked for management of the service. Funding ranges from grant distributions, general fund allocations, distribution of telecommunication fees, etc. Oregon in particular established a localized model, with an appropriation of $5M for the state to implement and an additional $10M in funding distributed directly to counties to establish and maintain local crisis intervention teams. See more details on the NASHP website and read the 988 fact sheet from the Federal Communications Commission.