Warner, Kaine announce $2.6M in federal funding for crisis hotline response

Posted at 5:30 PM, Apr 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-24 17:30:50-04

WASHINGTON - U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced Thursday $2.6 million for Virginia's crisis hotline response.

The senators announced $2,642,519 in federal funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) for the Virginia State Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS). This funding will go towards improving call and text response rates at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

“In the last two years of the pandemic, we have seen an increased demand for mental health services,” the senators said. “We are pleased that this funding will allow the Commonwealth to provide more timely assistance to those who are in crisis and in need of help.”

Virginia's DBHDS currently has an in-state answer rate of 83%.

According to the senators, the goal of this funding is to increase answer rates at call centers to 90% by the end of the grant period. SAMSHA also has a stated goal of answering 90% of calls within 15 seconds and 95% of calls within 20 seconds by the end of the grant period.

In July, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is transitioning from its current 10-digit number to three-digit, 988. SAMHSA says with the switch will bring an expected increase in calls.