LINCOLN – Kiphany Hof, associate director of counseling at UNK and a licensed mental health practitioner, has been selected to serve on the Nebraska Legislature’s Mental Health Crisis Hotline Task Force.
Hof is one of 24 members of the public selected. They include licensed mental and behavioral health clinicians, mental health care service providers, telecommunications representatives, law enforcement personnel, elected officials and others.
The task force, created through LB247, will develop and implement a plan for Nebraska to integrate and utilize the 988 mental health crisis hotline established pursuant to the federal National Suicide Hotline Designation Act of 2020.
The group will integrate local mental health crisis hotlines to ensure each individual who accesses a hotline is connected to a qualified mental or behavioral health professional, regardless of when or where they call in Nebraska.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one person died by suicide every 32 hours in Nebraska in 2018. Suicide is the leading cause of death for people between the ages of 10 and 24.
Many mental health crisis calls currently go to law enforcement through the 911 line, when what they actually need is urgent mental health assistance. The 988 line will provide an approach to crisis response that channels mental health calls to trained mental health professionals.
“I look forward to working with members of this task force to ensure the Nebraska Legislature is informed and ready to take advantage of the opportunities created through the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act and create a more seamless system for crisis response,” said Sen. Curt Friesen, who is co-chairing the task force.