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Moulton Policies to Make 988 the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, Help Nonprofits Included in Latest Relief Bill

Seth Moulton

WASHINGTON — Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi unveiled The Heroes Act, the House of Representatives’ latest plan to help Americans reeling from the effects of the coronavirus. The bill includes The National Suicide Hotline Designation Act, which Representative Seth Moulton (D-MA) introduced as a standalone bill with Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT) last August. It also includes critical pieces of the Save Organizations that Serve (SOS) America Act, which Moulton recently introduced with Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA). If passed into law, the Heroes Act would set aside financial assistance through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for small and mid-sized nonprofits.

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“We need a national mental health hotline that we all can remember, so that none of us are left alone when we need help in a crisis—just like we all know we can dial 911 for other emergencies. Every day that goes by without one, more lives are needlessly lost because people who need help simply can’t connect with it quickly enough,” Moulton said. “Congress also needs to support nonprofits while they have the burden of supporting all of us.”
Moulton and his team have built two strong coalitions to get these policies up for a vote, which will happen in the House on Friday. H.R. 4194, The National Suicide Hotline Designation Act, has earned the endorsement of nearly every leading suicide prevention group in the country including the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, National Alliance on Mental Illness, Mental Health America, the Trevor Project, Centerstone, RI International, American Psychological Association, and more than 50 other organizations.
Last summer, Moulton disclosed publicly for the first time that he was managing Post Traumatic Stress from his experiences in Iraq, where he served four tours of duty as a Marine. He decided to tell his story to help break the stigma that prevents people from getting help with mental health issues. In the months since, he’s introduced plans to make getting mental health checkups a routine part of life. In December, the defense bill signed into law included a plan Moulton wrote to require every member of the Armed Forces to receive a mental health checkup within 21 days of returning home from a deployment.
The National Suicide Hotline Designation Act also has bipartisan support in the Senate, where Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Jerry Moran (R-KS), and Jack Reed (D-RI) introduced a Senate version last year.
In December, the Senate companion bill passed unanimously through the Republican-controlled Senate Commerce Committee. Also in December, the FCC unanimously voted to move forward with a rulemaking process to formally designate 988 as the national lifeline.
The SOS America Act is newer. Moulton wrote the bill after his local YMCA executive director raised the challenges the local Y was facing as it managed lost revenues and furloughed employees while still providing key services like meals for children and the homeless. Moulton asked his team to explore the problem at the national level, and Moulton and Fitzpatrick wrote a bill to help nonprofits that they hoped would be used as a model for the next round relief package. It earned the endorsement of a coalition of leading national nonprofits. Last week, Moulton led a group of 144 members of Congress in a request to House leadership to help nonprofits in the next round of relief. They were joined by the following nonprofits:
Alliance for Strong Families and Communities
American Alliance of Museums
American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
American Council of the Blind
American Heart Association
American Lung Association
Americans for the Arts
Association of Art Museum Directors
Association for Healthcare Philanthropy
Bethany Christian Services
Boys and Girls Club of America
Catholic Charities USA
ChildFund International
Council of Michigan Foundations
Council on Foundations
Covenant House
Ducks Unlimited
Embrace Relief
Faith & Giving Coalition
Food for the Hungry
Girl Scouts of the USA
Girls Inc.
Goodwill Industries International, Inc.
Grantmakers in the Arts
Habitat for Humanity International
Helping Hand for Relief and Development
Human Rights for Kids
IHC Global
Independent Sector
Jewish Federations of North America
League of American Orchestras
Lutheran Services in America
March of Dimes
Mental Health America
Mercy Corps
Minnesota Council on Foundations
National Council of Nonprofits
National Health Council
National Indian Child Welfare Association
National MS Society
Philanthropy Colorado
Philanthropy Delaware
Philanthropy Massachusetts
Philanthropy New York
Philanthropy West Virginia
Physicians for Peace
Project HOPE
The Red Cross
RTI International
The Henry Ford Museum
The Jewish Federations of North America
The Nature Conservancy
Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America
United Philanthropy Forum
United Way Worldwide
United Way of Delaware
World Vision US
YMCA of the USA
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