Governor Laura Kelly Signs Legislation Creating A Suicide Prevention and
Mental Health Crisis Hotline 

TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly today signed Senate Bill 19, bipartisan legislation that creates the state’s suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline and behavioral health intervention teams. Kansans will soon be able to call 9-8-8 to receive support during a mental health emergency.

“The creation of the 9-8-8 suicide prevention hotline will provide Kansans immediate access to qualified mental health care providers during moments of crisis,” Governor Kelly said. “There’s no doubt, having mobile crisis teams just a phone call away will save lives.”

The 9-8-8 hotline will be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and will be within the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Centers network.

“Better access to crisis support services for Kansans with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) will help to address some of the system problems we have endured in our state for a long time,” Nick Wood, Associate Director of InterHab, said. “Behavioral health crises among IDD populations only represent a small fraction of overall psychiatric and substance use emergencies, but they’re often high impact and can seriously disrupt a person’s life. When a crisis situation occurs, bringing in a professional who understands IDD conditions such as autism and how it’s manifesting can help avoid a fatal or traumatizing interaction.”

The mobile crisis teams are created through partnerships between behavioral health professionals and others who provide professional, community-based crisis intervention services, which include de-escalation and stabilization for Kansans experiencing a behavioral health crisis.

“The recent passage of SB 19 – the 988 Suicide Prevention Hotline Infrastructure bill – is monumental for the state of Kansas and the mental health community, allowing for our crisis call centers to be able to better provide for Kansans across the state,” Ryan Reza, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Kansas, said. “The 988 Suicide Prevention Hotline will change how organizations like NAMI Kansas operate in Kansas, creating new pathways for mental health stakeholders to help Kansans in need.”

Governor Kelly also signed House Bill 2540, which updates the Uniform Controlled Substances Act.

“Updates to the Kansas Controlled Substances Act are vital to ensure the health and safety of the public by ensuring that new drugs are properly safeguarded and available to Kansas patients,” Alexandra Blasi, Executive Secretary of the Kansas Board of Pharmacy, said. “In addition, dangerous illicit substances known to cause harm are placed in schedule I to ensure law enforcement can hold people accountable that traffic these substances. Changes are proposed annually as a joint recommendation of the Kansas Board of Pharmacy and the Kansas Bureau of Investigation. One key element of this legislation is the advance scheduling of any FDA-approved drug containing THC or other cannabinoids. There are a number of products currently in clinical trials anticipated to be submitted for FDA-approval in the coming months and years. Now Kansas will be among the first to allow these drugs to be lawfully prescribed in our state if and when the FDA deems them safe and effective.”