CSAC Bulletin Article

Federal Agencies Convene Law Enforcement and Behavioral Health Leaders to Discuss 988 

March 23, 2023

The U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs’ Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) are working with The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center to articulate a vision for law enforcement’s role in 988.

Important design and operational questions are emerging about how 988—the 3-digit code for people to reach the National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline—will interface with existing law enforcement and crisis responses. Law enforcement and behavioral health leaders from across the country recently came together and agreed that 988 has the potential to be a powerful tool for behavioral health diversion. Building on that objective, three major themes emerged about how to actualize this shared vision. 

  1. A continued commitment from federal agencies is critical to the success of 988 nationwide.
  2. Meaningful cross-system collaboration requires trust among partners and a shared understanding across systems.
  3. Equity and access are central to the shared vision of 988.

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