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A funding opportunity by Vibrant Emotional Health and the Lifeline to plan for the implementation of 988

About the Funding Opportunity

In July 2022, 988 will become the national three-digit dialing code for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, replacing the current phone number of 1-800-283-TALK (8255). As the administrator of the Lifeline since its inception in 2005, Vibrant Emotional Health knows that a national three-digit phone number can improve access to vital crisis services, improve the efficacy of suicide prevention efforts, and reduce the stigma about mental health and getting help. 

Vibrant, through a special funding opportunity, seeks to collaborate with public health and mental health agencies in all 50 states and the District of Columbia to plan for the development of appropriate infrastructure and operations necessary for the full implementation of 988.  U.S. Territories who, as of December 7, 2020, have a crisis center currently in the application process to join the Lifeline are also eligible for this funding opportunity.

Through this grant opportunity U.S. states, territories and Lifeline centers receiving grant funds will:  

  • Develop clear roadmaps for how they will address key coordination, capacity, funding and communication strategies that are foundational to the launching of 988 which will occur on or before July 16, 2022.
  • Plan for the long-term improvement of in-state answer rates for 988 calls.

The number of awards to be paid depends on the number of successful applications, however, up to 54 awards may be made. As the lead applicants, state/territory agencies must partner with Lifeline-affiliated call centers in their state/territory for this grant.

Applications are due no later than 5 pm EST, Friday, January 8, 2021. Click here to submit your application. Directions and application requirements are listed within the Request for Applications (RFA). Frequently asked questions are below and more will be added to this page regularly.

FAQ - Funding

How many grants will be awarded and how much is the grant in total?

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How much can we apply for?

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Is the call center stipend included in the grant budget or does the state need to provide funding for this through another means?

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Can we provide stipends larger than $5,000 to our Lifeline member centers?

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Is this a federal SAMHSA grant using federal funds?

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Supporting FTE at the state/territory agency is required in the RFA. Does that have to be a full FTE or can it be partial FTE? Can FTE be split between multiple individuals?

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Could more than one award be made to a state if two different state agencies apply?

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The RFA says we have to support FTE in our agency with this grant but there is probably no way we would be able to recruit, hire and train for this program until the project is likely half way through. What should we do?

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Is this a competitive grant process?

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When does the Lifeline plan to announce the awards?

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If approved for funding, what are the important dates that I should be aware of?

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Are indirect costs allowed?

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Are indirect costs within or above the allowable funding limits?

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FAQ - Eligibility

Who is eligible to apply?

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We would like to use the services of a state suicide prevention coalition as the central lead on the grant. Is this allowed?

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Is there an option for centers to apply for funding if the state agency declines to apply?

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As a center, is there anything we need to do/should do to make sure our state is actually applying for this? / If we don’t know which agency would even apply can we assume our state will include us? / How do we find out who is responsible for applying for each state?

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Our state has multiple call centers, we need to submit the grant together, is that correct?

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FAQ - Partnerships

Can centers who become Lifeline members after the end of the 988 planning grant, be added to our state’s 988 implementation plan? Or are we required, in our build out for 988, to stay limited to current centers? In other words, can we recruit and incentivize new centers to join the Lifeline and 988 after this grant ends?

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How will agencies decide which centers they will consult with for planning purposes?

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What other Lifeline centers are in my state?

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What if my center isn’t picked by the state to handle 988 calls? Is there a role for me in the Lifeline network?

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Will states allocate 988 funds [meaning funds the state raises, not this grant funding] to centers by call volume or some other main metric?

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If the state is funding us as a 988 center are they going to be setting clinical and performance standards on us as centers which are different or more stringent than what the Lifeline has for us?

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What will prevent counties to start up their own hotline or expand existing lines to vie to be part of the 988 network?

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Will 988 calls will be coming into each Lifeline center or will another center be created in each state?

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FAQ - Allowable Expenses

Are non-Lifeline member crisis contact centers eligible to receive funds through this grant opportunity?

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Can funds be used after the end of the grant period for implementation plan completion? For instance, can we use the grant funds to support FTE through the entire implementation period – February 2021 – July 2022?

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When calculating how many Lifeline centers are in my state, can I count centers who have not yet onboarded into the Lifeline network but are in the application process?

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Can I count centers who haven’t yet applied to join the Lifeline but who plan to?

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Can the grant be used to pay call center staff salaries?

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The RFA requires all current and pending Lifeline member centers receive a $5,000 stipend for participation. Can we give them more money to help with their 988 planning, including possible technology upgrades?

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Can the planning grant help cover implementation of new systems to assist centers with 988 crisis services growth?

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FAQ - Application Submission & Content

The RFA mentions a required budget format that must be used. Where do I find that?

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When is the application deadline for the grant?

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How do I submit the application?

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What are the application requirements?

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What file formats can I upload and do I upload one document or is it broken into several documents?

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In the Review Criteria Section B: Proposed Approach part of the RFA, it indicates we needed to describe 911 fees being collected in our state. The RFA told us to refer to the 11th report to Congress. However, I heard the 12th report to Congress just became available. Should we use that data instead?

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What is the maximum number of pages for the application?

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988 Core Implementation Planning Concept #3 on page 10 of the RFA requires consideration of call volume and identifying how a state will plan to maintain 90% in state answer rate. Do we need to consider text and chat volume predictions as well?

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Will call center data reporting during the grant period be collected by the State or will there be a link provided by Vibrant similar to the State Capacity Building Grant for call centers?

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We already do follow-up calls to ensure ongoing safety as a part of our services to Lifeline callers. But the amount of time this takes is considerable yet is not "counted" in our statistics for reaching our call answer requirements. Will there be consideration for this very important time investment, which is often longer and more in-depth than the original incoming call?

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Will 988 calls only go to NSPL centers or will they also be routed to non NSPL Crisis Assessment Centers as well?

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How do we find what the expected call volume is per state, rather than nationally?

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How do we resolve that 988 goes to local centers based on geo location rather than based on area code?

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