US Sen. Reed wants to shorten the suicide prevention hotline

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Jack Reed is helping lead an effort to create a three-digit suicide prevention hotline.

The Rhode Island Democrat worked with three of his colleagues, Sens. Cory Gardner, Tammy Baldwin and Jerry Moran, to introduce a bill to designate 9-8-8 as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. It would include the Veterans Crisis Line.

Reed says the current hotline is 10 digits and that’s a barrier. Reed says a shorter number will help get people into care, but it’s just a first step and the federal government must “put up real resources.”

Rhode Island residents who dial the current hotline, (800) 273-TALK, are connected to BH Link. Reed says the East Providence behavioral health facility received more than 5,000 mental health and substance use crisis calls in the past year.

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