CEO Alliance for Mental Health Launches Campaign to Drive 988 Crisis Hotline Preparedness

120 Days Before July 16 Launch, Leading Mental Health Organizations Offer State and Municipal Leaders a Comprehensive Roadmap for Emergency Response Preparedness

Washington, D.C.March 16, 2022 – The CEO Alliance for Mental Health, a collaborative of 15 of the nation’s leading mental health professional organizations, advocacy groups and funders, today announced the rollout of a coordinated effort to drive awareness and support among state and municipal officials as they prepare for the nationwide transition from the current National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to the new 988 Hotline for mental health emergencies and suicide prevention.

Over the next 120 days, before the hotline launches on July 16, the CEO Alliance for Mental Health will push for the adoption of its roadmap for mental health crisis response, which it envisions as a local/regional continuum-of-care ecosystem that can deliver effective, proper care.

Coordinated outreach will include a 988 social media campaign to direct state and municipal elected officials, civic leaders, policymakers and advocates to its roadmap, A Consensus Approach and Recommendations for the Creation of a Comprehensive Crisis Response System. It offers leadership at every level of government an evidence-based toolkit for designing and implementing a full continuum of mental health and substance use care.

Social media messaging will highlight the multiple pathways for effective crisis stabilization, including, 1) early outreach and engagement of people at risk; 2) call center hubs staffed with trained crisis counselors; 3) mobile crisis teams; 4) community-based treatment clinics; 5) in-patient psychiatric facilities, housing, and 6) post-crisis support. Elements of the campaign will include a series of shared infographics (see below) that will appear across media channels of the 15 organizations and their leaders and have the potential for reaching hundreds of thousands of mental health care influencers.

With roughly 50% of all Americans experiencing emotional distress, the urgent mandate for a national 988 mental health crisis hotline creates opportunities for federal, state and local planners to rebuild, reorganize and expand capacity at a community level to address unmet needs for mental health care. The CEO Alliance’s 988 social media campaign aims to drive awareness among governors, mayors, city commissioners and other civic leaders of the need for bold innovation at every touchpoint in mental health care delivery.

The 988 mental health hotline is an integral component of the Administration’s mental health strategy, announced by President Biden in his recent State of the Union Address, to build system capacity, connect more people to care, and provide support to Americans, especially young people. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the demand and driven need for the significant expansion of mental health care. If managed effectively — building workforce and program capacity and addressing inequities in care for communities of color — state officials can marshal new resources to transform mental health care, as envisioned in the group’s alignment document:  A Unified Vision for Transforming Mental Health and Substance Abuse Care, which calls for policy, programs and standards to prioritize mental health care and address the social and economic conditions that result in inadequate and inequitable access to effective, humane treatment.

The CEO Alliance for Mental Health is a leadership collaboration of 15 CEOs from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, Massachusetts Association for Mental Health, Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute, Mental Health America, National Association for Behavioral Healthcare, National Alliance on Mental Illness, National Council for Mental Wellbeing, One Mind, Peg’s Foundation, Steinberg Institute, The Kennedy Forum, Treatment Advocacy Center and Well Being Trust.

We are: an unprecedented collaboration of chief executives from 15 of the nation’s leading mental health, addiction and well-being advocacy groups, funders and professional organizations who have come together to advance a unified vision for qualitative transformation of mental health and substance use care in the U.S. Founded in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic in response to an intensifying mental health crisis, this leadership grouping coalesced to advance a consensus perspective on policy, programs, standards and resources that: 1) prioritize mental health and substance use care; and 2) address the social and economic determinants of mental health that disproportionately impact people of color and lower income communities. With the support of nearly 50 additional organizations and institutions that have signed onto the Unified Vision statement, we offer federal, state and city officials a critical blueprint for systemic reform and a solution to the current mental health crisis affecting half of all Americans. To learn more, visit here.

Organizations and CEO Leadership

  1. American Foundation for Suicide Prevention / CEO, Robert Gebbia
  2. American Psychiatric Association / CEO & Medical Director, Saul Levin, MD, MPA, FRCP-E
  3. American Psychological Association / CEO and Exec. Vice President, Arthur C. Evans, Jr., PhD
  4. Massachusetts Association for Mental Health / President and CEO, Danna Mauch, PhD
  5. Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute / President and CEO, Andy Keller, PhD
  6. Mental Health America / President and CEO, Schroeder Stribling, MSW
  7. National Association for Behavioral Healthcare / President and CEO, Shawn Coughlin
  8. National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) / CEO, Daniel H. Gillison, Jr.
  9. National Council for Mental Wellbeing / President and CEO, Charles Ingoglia, MSW
  10. One Mind / Chairman, Garen Staglin; President, Brandon Staglin
  11. Peg’s Foundation / President, Rick Kellar, M.B.A.
  12. Steinberg Institute / Chair, Thomas Insel, M.D. (former director NIMH until 2015)
  13. The Kennedy Forum / Former U.S. Rep. (D-RI) and Founder, Kennedy Forum, Patrick J. Kennedy
  14. Treatment Advocacy Center / Executive Director, Lisa Dailey
  15. Well Being Trust / Chief Executive, Tyler Norris, MDiv; President, Benjamin F. Miller, PsyD
The CEO Alliance for Mental Health
The Best Crisis Intervention is EARLY Intervention
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