While 9-8-8, the number, was officially launched nationwide on July 16, 2022, AB 988, The Miles Hall Lifeline & Suicide Prevention Act, the California bill to provide funding to support around the clock non-police crisis intervention, has not yet passed. We need you to assist us with crossing the finish line. Learn how you can support this effort below.
What is the difference between 988 and AB 988?
988 is an easy to remember three-digit phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. It replaced the old 10-digit number on July 16. 988 provides call and text services for people in crisis to connect with suicide prevention and mental health crisis counselors. It does NOT provide mobile mental health non-police crisis services.
AB 988, the Miles Hall Lifeline and Suicide Prevention Act, will significantly enhance the new 988 call number. With the passage of this legislation, callers will be connected with around-the-clock intervention, including mobile crisis teams staffed by trained mental health professionals and trained peers instead of law enforcement. The bill also funds interoperability between 988 and 911, allowing calls to be transferred between the two and the best services to be provided for mental health emergencies.
AB 988 is headed to Senate Appropriations once the legislature reconvenes on August 1st (watch here). It is essential that the Miles Hall Lifeline Act be passed so that all California moves toward access to a 24/7 non-police mobile response for those experiencing a mental health crisis.
How can I help?
Contact your legislatures urging support of AB 988.The bill will come before every member of the legislature once more before the Governor sees it. We encourage everyone to call their legislators expressing support for the bill.
Continue the great social media momentum AB 988 has been enjoying by resharing articles and posting on social accounts. Share these articles/editorials widely:
For crisis response, press 988 – and pass a bill to keep it funded (LA Times Editorial , 7/15/22)
Police shooting shows need for 988 mental health hotline (The Mercury News, 7/9/22)
Dial 988: California’s mental health crisis hotline debuts (Calmatters, 7/15/22)
Listen to this roundtable for the latest on AB 988.
In this video, Taun Hall of the Miles Hall Foundation, Gigi Crowder from NAMI Contra Costa, and Lauren Finke of the Kennedy Forum join Rebecca Bauer-Kahan to discuss the current landscape of the mental health crisis response and how we are working to transform it.
THE MILES HALL LIFELINE & SUICIDE PREVENTION ACT
AB 988 – The Miles Hall Lifeline and Suicide Prevention Act
Introduced by Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, District 16
AB 988 creates a new easy-to-remember three-digit phone line, 988, as the new 911 for suicidal and immediate mental health crises. With 988, callers will be connected with around-the-clock intervention, including mobile crisis teams staffed by trained mental health professionals and trained peers instead of law enforcement.
California is facing a mental health crisis. One in 6 Californians now live with a mental illness and suicides have been steadily climbing, increasing by 35% nationally over the last two decades. This tragic trend has only been exacerbated by COVID-19.
For decades, California has failed to provide necessary mental health crisis services amidst this growing mental health crisis. As a result, the police and the criminal justice system as a whole often serve as the state’s default mental health provider. Currently, 10% of law enforcement agencies’ budgets – and 20% of staff time – are spent responding to individuals with mental illness.
As a direct consequence of our overreliance on law enforcement responses to a public health crisis, approximately 25% of all individuals killed in police- involved shootings since 2015 had a known mental illness, with black men dying disproportionately.
In 2019, Miles Hall, a 23-year-old black man living in Walnut Creek, was in the midst of a schizophrenic mental health crisis when his family called 911 for help. Despite being familiar with Miles’ condition, the officers resorted to lethal force within a minute of their arrival.
Law enforcement officers are not mental health experts and should not be expected to serve this role. A better system for Miles and all Californians is possible – one that leads with treatment, not law enforcement.
Last year, both chambers of Congress unanimously passed, and the President signed historic legislation, the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act, establishing 988 as the new three-digit alternative to 911 for suicidal and immediate mental health crisis response. Before July 2022, when 988 goes live, states must create a framework to receive and respond to calls.
WHAT THE BILL DOES
AB 988 implements the national 988 system in California so that all people experiencing a mental health crisis are able to receive life-saving care. Under this bill, the 988 system in California will be implemented in a phased-in approach over 5 years, allowing the state to thoughtfully scale existing crisis services while meeting federally established deadlines.
AB 988 will connect, expand, and integrate 3 critical pillars of mental health crisis continuums of care:
24/7 access to crisis counseling through call, text, and chat;
The deployment of mobile crisis teams, staffed by trained mental health professionals and peers, to respond to crises instead of law enforcement; and
Access to crisis receiving and stabilization services, so that individuals in a mental health crisis aren’t left to languish in our emergency rooms and jails.
The National Suicide Hotline Designation Act authorized states to assess a user fee on mobile phone, landline, and other access line bills to fund the “efficient and effective routing of calls, personnel, and the provision of acute mental health, crisis outreach and stabilization services.” This is the same way 911 is funded nationwide.
The user fee established in AB 988 uses the same model of determining the rate as California’s 911 fee. Each year, the Office of Emergency Services will determine the annual budget for operating 988, seek approval from the Legislature, and divide the approved budget by the number of access lines to get the rate, which cannot exceed $0.80 per line per month. The user fee may not be used to supplant existing public funding for mental health crisis services and may only cover services that are not reimbursable through insurance. AB 988 exempts low- income Californians from paying the user fee.
AB 988 follows Congressional guidelines to assess a user fee to ensure universal access to high quality compassionate mental health crisis services.
Support (as of July 2021)
County of Contra Costa (Sponsor)
County of Los Angeles Board of Supervisors (Sponsor)
Mental Health America of California (Sponsor)
Miles Hall Foundation (Sponsor)
NAMI California (Sponsor)
NAMI Contra Costa (Sponsor)
Steinberg Institute (Sponsor)
The Kennedy Forum (Sponsor)
Alameda County District Attorney’s Office
Alameda County Network of Mental Health Clients
All of Us or None
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
Anti-Police Terror Project Sacramento
ASCRIBE Educational Consulting
Association of Regional Center Agencies
Autism Deserves Equal Coverage
Black Lives Matter Committee of the African American and Friends of Rossmoor
Bend The ARC: Jewish Action
California Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychology
California Alliance of Child & Family Services
California Association of Local Behavioral Health Boards & Commissions
California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists
California Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians Advisory Committee
California Commission on Aging
California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls
California Democratic Party
California Downtown Association
California Federation of Teachers AFL-CIO
California First Response Transformation, Equity
California Hawaii State Conference NAACP
California Judges Association
California Pan-Ethnic Health Network
California Psychological Association
California State Association of Psychiatrists
California State Council SEIU
California State PTA
City of Clayton
City of Concord
City of Cupertino
City of Davis
City of Dublin
City of Lafayette
City of Livermore
City of Martinez
City of Oakland
City of Oakley
City of Orinda
City of Pleasanton
City of San Diego
City of San Pablo
City of San Ramon
City of Walnut Creek
Congregation B’Nai Tikvah
Council on American-Islamic Relations, Sacramento V alley
Democratic Party of Contra Costa
Democrats of Rossmoor
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance California
Didi Hirsch, National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Center Disability Rights California
Economic Opportunity Councuk
Empower to Change
Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund
Indivisible Resisters Walnut Creek
Jewish Family and Child Services of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties
Justice 2 Jobs Sacramento
Justice Unites Individuals & Communities Everywhere League of California Cities
Libby Schaaf, Mayor of Oakland
Kelechi Ubozoh Consulting
Manzanita Services, Inc.
Mental Health & Autism Insurance Project
Mental Health Association of San Francisco
M.H. First Community First Response
Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America
Mobilize 4 Mental Health
Ms. Mable Sparrows Inc.
Mt. Diablo Unitarian Universalist Church Racial Justice Team
NAACP Youth Council
NAMI Greater Los Angeles County
NAMI of San Gabriel Valley
National Association of Social Workers California National Union of Healthcare Workers
New Creation Church
North Los Angeles County Regional Center
Peninsula Temple Sholom
Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California
Power to Resist
Public Health Advocates
Sacramento Area Congregations Together
Sacramento Street EMS, District 1
Sacramento Valley Psychological Association
San Diego County District Attorney’s Office
San Francisco County Board of Supervisors Shatterproof
Showing Up for Racial Justice Contra Costa County Showing Up for Racial Justice Sacramento
Students Demand Action for Gun Sense in America Social Justice Politicorps
Sunrise Movement Sacramento
Temple Akiba of Culver City
The California Association of Local Behavioral Health Boards and Commissions
The People’s Budget Sacramento The Trevor Project
Town of Danville
Truth Love Justice
Well Being Trust
WellSpace, National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Center Women’s March Contra Costa
+ 2,641 Individuals
Legislative Caucus Endorsements
(p): (916) 319-2016
On September 3, 2021, the Department of Health Care Services announced it will invest $20 million in California’s network of emergency call centers to support the launch of a new 988 hotline.
Although AB 988 passed the Assembly in the 2021 legislative session, it became a 2-year bill to allow revisions to be made in the 2022 session.