Crisis hotline task force approved

A task force will study the implementation of a crisis hotline in Nebraska under a bill passed May 19.

Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks
Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks

LB247, sponsored by Lincoln Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks, establishes the Mental Health Crisis Hotline Task Force to create an implementation plan for the 988 crisis hotline established by the federal government in 2020.

The task force will identify a method to integrate local mental health crisis hotlines to ensure everyone who accesses such a hotline is connected to a qualified mental or behavioral health professional regardless of the time, date or number of individuals simultaneously attempting to access a hotline.

The task force also will develop a plan for staffing a statewide mental health crisis hotline.

Voting members include the chairpersons of the Health and Human Services, Judiciary and Transportation and Telecommunications committees and two at-large members of the Legislature appointed by the Executive Board.

Representatives from the state Department of Health and Human Services and the Public Service Commission — along with advocacy, education, law enforcement and behavioral and mental health provider representatives — are nonvoting members.

The task force will issue a report to the Legislature by Dec. 17, 2021, regarding implementation plans and recommendations and will terminate Dec. 31, 2022.

LB247 passed on a 46-0 vote and takes effect immediately.

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