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Weekly Column: From The Mailbag--Addressing Suicide In Idaho And Across The United States

Guest column submitted by U.S. Senator Mike Crapo

As participants in the decisions made in Congress, Idahoans contact me regularly with valuable input about the issues our country faces.  One of the issues Idahoans have periodically contacted me about is efforts to address the high rates of suicide.  The following is my response:

I agree we must do more to address the prevalence of suicide across Idaho and the United States and welcome this opportunity to respond.

On July 16, 2020, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) designated 988 as a new short, 3-digit dialing code for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.  The FCC’s action follows the 2018 enactment of legislation commissioning the FCC to study the feasibility and usefulness of a three-digit suicide hotline.  The FCC reported that moving to an easy-to-remember, three-digit hotline would make it simpler for Americans in crisis to access the help they need and decrease the stigma surrounding suicide and mental health issues. 

As part of this effort, on May 13, 2020, the Senate amended and unanimously passed legislation I co-sponsored to require the FCC’s designation of 988 as the universal national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline.  In passing the legislation, the Senate recognized, “To prevent future suicides, it is critical to transition the cumbersome, existing 10-digit National Suicide Hotline to a universal, easy-to-remember, 3-digit phone number and connect people in crisis with life-saving resources.”  The bill was signed into law on October 17, 2020.  Effective July 16, 2022, the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline was made available to all landline and cell phone users.

While the initial implementation has been a success, local hotline centers have noted that using a caller’s area code has meant that those out of their home state experiencing crises are not directed to local resources.  This is why I am a co-sponsor of S. 3444, the Local 9-8-8 Response Act.  This ensures that calls within a particular state are directed to the local 988 response center through geofencing, giving people access to the resources closest to them.

Realizing many Idahoans may not have the chance to contact me, I post information about various issues of importance on my website, at, as well as news releases, information about accessing my Facebook and YouTube pages and following me on Twitter and Instagram.  Resources to assist Idahoans who need help with federal agencies and how to contact me are also on the website and as follows:

    • Boise

251 E. Front St., Suite 205

Boise ID, 83702

Phone: (208) 334-1776

Fax: (208) 334-9044

    • Coeur d' Alene

610 Hubbard, Suite 209

Coeur d' Alene, ID 83814

Phone: (208) 664-5490

Fax: (208) 664-0889

    • Idaho Falls

410 Memorial Dr., Suite 204

Idaho Falls, ID 83402

Phone: (208) 522-9779

Fax: (208) 529-8367

    • Lewiston

313 'D' St., Suite 105

Lewiston, ID 83501

Phone: (208) 743-1492

Fax: (208) 743-6484

    • Pocatello

275 S. 5th Ave., Suite 100

Pocatello, ID 83201

Phone: (208) 236-6775

Fax: (208) 236-6935

    • Washington, D.C.

239 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Washington, DC 20510

Phone: (202) 224-6142

Fax: (202) 228-1375

The messages you send me help shape my approach on a number of important matters.  Please continue to contact me and share your thoughts and ideas. 

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