AB 988 - THE MILES HALL LIFELINE ACT
AB 988 – The Miles Hall Lifeline Act: 988 Suicide and Mental Health Crisis Hotline
Introduced by Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, District 16
AB 988 creates a new three-digit phone line, 988, for suicide prevention and immediate, localized emergency response for individuals in mental health crisis by trained mental health professionals.
California is facing a mental health crisis. One in 6 Californians now live with a mental illness and suicides have been steadily climbing, increasing by 35% nationally over the last two decades. This tragic trend has only been exacerbated by COVID-19.
For decades, California has failed to provide necessary mental health services amidst this growing mental health crisis. As a result, the police and the criminal justice system as whole often serve the state’s default mental health provider. Currently, 10% of law enforcement agencies’ budgets – and 20% of staff time – are spent responding to individuals with mental illness.
As a direct consequence of our overreliance on law enforcement responses to a public health crisis, ~25% of all individuals killed in police-involved shootings since 2015 had a known mental illness, with black men dying disproportionately.
In 2019, Miles Hall, a 23-year-old African American man living in Walnut Creek, was in the midst of a schizophrenic mental health crisis when his family called the only source of help available – 911. Despite being familiar with Miles’ condition, the officers resorted to lethal force within a minute of their arrival.
Law enforcement officers are not mental health experts and should not be expected to serve this role. A better system for Miles and all Californians is possible – one that leads with treatment, not law enforcement.
In October of 2020, the federal government passed, and the President signed new legislation, the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act, establishing a new phone line (9-8-8) for suicide prevention and immediate mental health crisis response nationwide. Before July 2022, when 988 goes live, states must create a framework to receive and respond to calls.
What this bill does
This bill implements the national 988 system in California so that all people experiencing a mental health crisis are able to receive life-saving care.
This bill will designate crisis hotline centers to provide intervention 24/7 through call, chat, and text. These call centers will be able to deploy crisis services – such as mobile crisis teams and crisis stabilization services. To ensure long-term success, centers will also follow up with callers to ensure they receive ongoing care.
The crisis hotline centers will also work with the National Suicide Hotline to provide over the phone immediate support for individuals calling in with suicidal thoughts.
Additionally, this bill will establish a monthly fee on mobile phone and landline bills – similar to a fee charged for 911 – to fund the 988 system.
Supporters (As of 4/22/21)
County of Contra Costa (Sponsor)
County of Los Angeles Board of Supervisors (Sponsor)
Miles Hall Foundation (Sponsor)
NAMI Contra Costa (Sponsor)
Steinberg Institute (Sponsor)
The Kennedy Forum (Sponsor)
Alameda County District Attorney’s Office
Alameda County Network of Mental Health Clients
All of Us or None
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
Anti-Police Terror Project Sacramento
ASCRIBE Educational Consulting
Association of Regional Center Agencies
Autism Deserves Equal Coverage
Black Lives Matter Committee of the African American and Friends of Rossmoor
California Association of Local Behavioral Health Boards & Commissions
California Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians
California First Response Transformation, Equity Advisory Committee
California Pan-Ethnic Health Network
California Psychological Association
California State Association of Psychiatrists
California State PTA
City of Concord
City of Danville
City of Dublin
City of Lafayette
City of Livermore
City of Oakley
City of Pleasanton
City of Richmond
City of San Diego
City of San Pablo City Council
City of San Ramon
City of Walnut Creek
Congregation B’Nai Tikvah
Council on American-Islamic Relations, Sacramento Valley
Democratic Party of Contra Costa
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance California
Didi Hirsch, National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Center
Disability Rights California
Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund
Indivisible Resisters Walnut Creek
Jewish Family and Child Services of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties
Justice 2 Jobs Sacramento
Justice Unites Individuals & Communities Everywhere
Mental Health & Autism Insurance Project
Mental Health America of California
Mental Health Association of San Francisco
M.H. First Community First Response
Mobilize 4 Mental Health
Moms Demand Action
Ms. Mable Sparrows Inc.
Mt. Diablo Peace & Justice Center
Mt. Diablo Unitarian Universalist Racial Justice Team
NAACP Youth Council
NAMI Greater Los Angeles County
NAMI of San Gabriel Valley
National Association of Social Workers California
National Union of Healthcare Workers
New Creation Church
Power to Resist
Public Health Advocates
Sacramento Area Congregations Together
Sacramento Street EMS, District 1
Sacramento Valley Psychological Association
Showing Up for Racial Justice Contra Costa County
Showing Up for Racial Justice Sacramento
Social Justice Politicorps
Sunrise Movement Sacramento
Temple Akiba of Culver City
The California Association of Local Behavioral Health Boards and Commissions
The People’s Budget Sacramento
Together We Stand
Together We Will - California
Together We Will - Contra Costa
The Trevor Project
Town of Danville
Truth Love Justice
Well Being Trust
WellSpace, National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Center
Women’s March Contra Costa
(p): (916) 319-2016
Help Pass The Miles Hall Lifeline Act AB 988
Submit a Letter of Support to the Appropriations Committee by Friday, May 7th at noon.
Your Organization may submit a letter of support through the California Legislature position letter portal. A sample letter of support for organizations is here. If questions on submitting the letter through the portal, refer to the FAQs.
The Advocacy Quick Reference Guide for submitting letters is here.
The text of the bill is linked here.
Contact your State Representatives
Contact your Representatives to let them know why you support AB 988. State your name and address and identify yourself as the legislator’s constituent. Briefly state you are calling in support of AB 988 and state why. Have your thoughts organized in advance to help you to keep the call brief and to the point. It is also very helpful to share how the issue affects you personally.
Bill History - Active Bill in Committee Process
Two-Thirds Vote Required
04/29/21 Passed Communications & Conveyance and re-referred to Appropriations ( Ayes 10. Noes 0.) (April 28).
04/29/21 Co-authors revised.
04/28/21 Committee Hearing at 1:30 pm PST -- See Analysis.
04/21/21 Passed Health Committee and re-referred to Communications & Conveyance (Ayes 11. Noes 2.) (April 20)
03/04/21 Referred to Committees on Health and Communications & Conveyance.
02/19/21 From printer. May be heard in committee March 21.
02/18/21 Read first time. To print.