U.S. House overwhelmingly passes suicide prevention hotline bill

Politics

WASHINGTON (News4Utah) – A suicide prevention bill backed by two Utah lawmakers takes a big step forward.

A suicide crisis is gripping the country, and no community is immune.

“Suicide can strike anywhere. These are our neighbors, coworkers, family members, friends, and I believe we have the power and the responsibility to reach out and help them,” said Representative Chris Stewart, (R) Utah.

Utah is hit especially hard, ranking 5th for the highest suicide deaths in the country.

Stewart says his bill can help and is calling on his colleagues in the House to act.

“I introduced the National Suicide Prevention Hotline Improvement Act to streamline and provide easy access to potentially life-saving resources by designating a new, national 3-digit dialing code, similar to 9-1-1, for national suicide prevention and mental health crisis,” said Stewart.

Senator Orrin Hatch is sponsoring the bill in the Senate. He too recently commented on the urgent need.

“Every minute we wait, we leave helpless hundreds of Americans who are struggling with suicidal thoughts. There are literally lives on the line here, and leaving them on hold is not an option,” said Hatch, (R) Utah.

Monday, the House overwhelmingly approved the bill on a vote of 397-1. It now faces one final vote in the Senate.

In the meantime, help is available by phone. The national hotline number is 1-800-273-TALK.

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Glen Mills

Chief Political Correspondent

 Glen is honored to be delivering the news of the day every weeknight at 5, 6, and 10 in his home state. He is an award-winning veteran journalist, who joined the ABC4 News team as a weekend anchor in June 2013. Over the years, he held various positions at the station as he worked his way up to the main anchor chair. He also serves as our Senior Political Correspondent and hosts Inside Utah Politics, which airs every Sunday. The Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has recognized Glen as the best government and military television reporter in the state. Before returning home to Utah, he spent 11 1/2 years developing his journalism skills in other states. He held various on-air and management positions at KPVI in Pocatello, Idaho, WGBA in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and KKCO in Grand Junction, Colorado during that time. Read More...