Second gentleman Doug Emhoff sought to highlight the 988 mental health hotline ahead of the holidays with a Friday visit to a Community Crisis Services Center.
The Biden administration announced $130 million in grants for the 988 hotline, funding from the bipartisan gun control legislation that the president signed into law in June.
“The holidays are tough for a lot of us around the country, and we all saw the tragic news about tWitch,” Emhoff said at the center in Hyattsville, Md.
Stephen Boss, also known as tWitch, died by suicide on Tuesday at the age of 40. He was a former DJ and co-executive producer for “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and a well-known dancer.
“I know that this work cannot be easy,” Emhoff said to the employees at the crisis center. “This is not a red state or blue state or a political issue. This issue of mental health and suicide affects everyone.”
The attorney and husband of Vice President Harris also stressed that calling 988 is fast, taking just 32 seconds on average.
“Instead of calling 911 for emergency, we need to get everyone to know that it’s 988 for any issue that revolve around mental health or suicidal ideation or those feelings of being alone,” he said.
Health and Human Services Deputy Secretary Andrea Palm and Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use Miriam Delphin-Rittman joined Emhoff for the visit.
Emhoff has also recently been focused on combatting antisemitism in the U.S. and last week hosted a roundtable at the White House amid a recent uptick in hateful rhetoric against Jewish people.