9-8-8 Implementation Planning Committee

 

On July 16, 2020, the Federal Communications Commission adopted rules to establish 9-8-8 as the new, nationwide, 3-digit phone number for Americans in crisis to connect with suicide prevention and mental health crisis counselors. This new rule requires all phone service providers to direct 9-8-8 calls to the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by July 16, 2022.

As Colorado prepares for the transition, OBH has formed the 9-8-8 Implementation Planning Committee to advise OBH as it develops clear roadmaps for how it will address key coordination, capacity, funding, and communication issues in preparation for the launch of 9-8-8. The Committee has also established three work groups to help it address key questions around funding, capacity, and marketing. 

Meetings
Group Date/Time Link/Phone Number to Join the Meeting
Full Committee May 5 Zoom Link
Funding & Sustainability

Third Wednesday of the month, 9-10:30 a.m.

 

April 21 Zoom Link | Agenda

Promotion, Awareness and Education, and Accessibility

Third Wednesday of the month, 12:30-2 p.m.

April 21 Zoom Link | Agenda
Call Center and System Capacity and Integration Second Thursday of the month, 10-11:30 a.m. May 13 Zoom Link
Committee Members
Kelly Bowman Health Colorado, Inc.
Daryl Branson Public Utilities Commission
Sarah Brummet Office of Suicide Prevention, Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment
Judy Campbell Professional with Lived Experience
Krista Cavataio Rocky Mountain Health Plans
Jennifer Conrad Signal Behavioral Health Network
Lila Cummings Colorado Hospital Association
Andrew Dameron Denver 9-1-1
Melissa Eddleman Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing
Kate Fitch Public Health Professional with Lived Experience
Doyle Forrestal Colorado Behavioral Health Council
Christine Harms Schools Safety Resource Center
Hope Hyatt Colorado Mental Wellness Network
Moe Keller Mental Health Colorado
Abe Laydon Commissioner, Douglas County
Elizabeth Richards Beacon Health Options
Cheri Skelding Rocky Mountain Crisis Partners
Scott Snow Denver Police Department
Mandy Stollsteimer WestCO PSAP
Ana Vizoso Servicios de La Raza
Robert Werthwein, Chair Office of Behavioral Health, Colorado Department of Human Services
Anthony Young Association of Black Psychologists
Work Groups

Promotion, Awareness and Education, and Accessibility
Consistency in public messaging is critical at the national and state/territory level regarding 9-8-8, its distinction from 9-1-1 and the range of services 9-8-8 provides. Colorado must lay out a framework for how 9-8-8 will be marketed within the state. Colorado should ensure messaging is consistent with national / federal messaging about the range of services 9-8-8 is intended to provide. Marketing should convey messages of help, hope and healing; should promote the voices of persons with lived experiences with mental illness and suicide, and should include specific strategies for reaching LGBTQ youth and other populations considered high risk for suicide. All messaging should adhere to all standards for Safe and Effective suicide prevention communication.

Funding & Sustainability

Colorado must provide strategies for identifying and supporting funding streams which boost the financial stability of the call center(s) answering Lifeline calls. Colorado will decide how to actualize a strategy to sustainably fund the Lifeline member call center(s) answering 9-8-8 calls, texts and chats and follow-up services. Funding strategies may be diversified including, but not limited to:

  • The potential to raise 9-8-8 related fees from telecommunication users (similar to how many states fund 9-1-1 calls) 
  • Medicaid reimbursements 
  • Mental health block grant funds
  • Direct engagement with state legislative budget committees for 9-8-8 specific funding, 
  • Partnerships with stakeholder groups who may have the ability to contribute to 9-8-8 resources (e.g. United Way/211, private insurers, hospitals, philanthropic organizations)
Call Center and System Capacity and Integration Capacity building at the center answering 9-8-8 contacts must occur based on call, chat, text and follow-up volume growth projections. However, current call volume and capacity challenges must be addressed before 9-8- 8 is nationally implemented on July 16, 2022. In partnership with the Lifeline, Colorado shall ensure that the Lifeline member center has the systems in place to maintain local resource and referral listings, as well as assure linkages to local community crisis services (including 911 PSAPs, mobile crisis teams and other outreach alternatives to law enforcement/EMS response).

 

Resources

Text - S.2661 National Suicide Hotline Designation Act of 2020

FCC Designates 988 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Press Release: Colorado begins planning for 9-8-8 suicide prevention number (March 17, 2021)

 Weigh In

9-8-8 is expected to be fully operational by July 16, 2022. Coloradans may continue to call 1-844-493-TALK (8255) or text TALK to 38255 for 24/7 counseling support from Colorado Crisis Services. Visit https://coloradocrisisservices.org/ for more information.

Contact

Christopher Miller
Community Programs Manager of Special Projects
Office of Behavioral Health
christopherx.miller@state.co.us