Senator Samra Brouk Announces Passage of 9-8-8 Bill During Final Days of Session

Rochester, NY - Senator Samra Brouk, chair of the Senate Mental Health Committee, announced that her legislation to create a convenient 9-8-8 mental health crisis hotline, akin to 9-1-1, passed both houses of the legislature (S6194-B). Thanks to this legislation, people will soon be able to call or text 9-8-8 to be connected with trained mental health professionals when experiencing a mental health crisis.

“I’m grateful that we were able to pass my 9-8-8 bill in the Senate and Assembly, which will make it easier for people experiencing a mental health crisis to get the compassionate treatment they need,” stated Senator Brouk.

COVID-19 exposed deficiencies in New York’s response to mental health crises, and this simple change will make it easier to access care. I look forward to pushing for more mental health reforms in the next legislative session.” 

Calling 9-8-8 will connect people with trained mental health professionals, who in most instances will be able to resolve the crisis over the phone. In cases with more urgent need, mobile crisis teams would be dispatched to provide professional treatment wherever it’s needed. In cases where someone calls or texts 9-1-1 instead of 9-8-8, provisions exist to ensure the call is directed back to 9-8-8.

Last October, the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act of 2020 was signed into Federal law, establishing 9-8-8 as a nationwide suicide prevention hotline number and requiring each state to implement the system by July 2022. Senator Brouk led the charge to ensure there was adequate time to implement the necessary infrastructure for 9-8-8 to be fully operational by then, without the need for caller wait times or out-of-state transfers. 

The bill was sponsored in the Assembly by Assemblymember Aileen Gunther, Chair of the Assembly Mental Health Committee (A7177-B).

In addition to championing the passage of 9-8-8, Senator Brouk passed legislation that would expand access to school psychologists by allowing them to practice outside of a school setting (S4347A). She is also sponsoring Daniel’s Law, named for Daniel Prude (S4814/A4697). Daniel's Law would allow for statewide and regional councils to oversee mental health crisis response, transforming New York’s approach to crisis response.

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