SPRINGFIELD –Illinois will soon fund and maintain a 24-hour suicide prevention hotline available to people in crisis, thanks to legislation sponsored by State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview).

“Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in our country,” Senator Fine said. “It saddens me that many of these deaths could have been prevented if mental health resources were more accessible. Providing access to behavioral and mental health resources with this hotline will be essential to saving lives.”

Senator Fine’s measure would create the Statewide 9-8-8 Trust Fund, which would be used by the Department of Human Services to establish and maintain a statewide 9-8-8 suicide prevention and mental health crisis system.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s 9-8-8 number will be live across the nation by July 2022, pursuant to the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act of 2020. However, people in crisis should continue to call the Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) until then.

“Mental health is as important as physical health. There should be accessible and quality resources available in the event of an emergency,” Senator Fine said. “This initiative will make treatment in times of crisis accessible for anyone who dials 9-8-8.”

SB 2945 passed the Senate floor Wednesday. It now goes to the House for further consideration.