WASHINGTON, Sept. 22, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- On Monday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted in support of a series of mental health and suicide prevention bills, including the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act (S.2661), the HERO Act (H.R.1646), the Suicide Prevention Lifeline Improvement Act (H.R.4564), the Campaign to Prevent Suicide Act (H.R.4585), and the Suicide Prevention Act (H.R.5619).
Robert Gebbia, CEO of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), the nation's largest suicide prevention organization, released the following statement about the Congressional action:
"As the nation's largest organization dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide, we applaud U.S. House of Representatives for prioritizing the suicide prevention and mental health needs of the country through the passage of several important pieces of legislation that will improve crisis service delivery, better surveillance of self-harm incidences, provide Emergency Department and first responder mental health resources, and elevate the national dialogue on suicide prevention.
AFSP is particularly thankful of House passage of the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act, which will support the implementation of the future 9-8-8 crisis hotline. This historic legislation, once signed by the President, will bring our nation's suicide prevention and mental health crisis response system into the 21st century. Suicide is a major public health concern and we need significant efforts to prevent this leading cause of death. We are encouraged by the U.S. Congress's work to designate and support the 9-8-8 number and recognize the major commitment that has been made to these important issues.
AFSP's nearly 30,000 volunteer Field Advocates engaged their members of Congress and made their voices heard through thousands of letters, phone calls, and emails. They have raised the cause of suicide prevention and their efforts advance these life-saving policies. We would also like to thank the sponsoring legislators, Committee members, Congressional leadership, and staff who have championed these efforts on Capitol Hill.
We appreciate the actions taken during September Suicide Prevention Month to prioritize these important issues. We urge federal and state elected officials to continue to support suicide prevention and mental health policies that can save lives."
For guidelines on how to report safely on suicide: https://afsp.org/about-suicide/for-journalists/.
Suicide in the United States
Suicide is a leading, yet preventable public health problem in the U.S. In 2018, we lost 48,344 Americans to suicide, making it the 2nd leading cause of death for youth and young adults ages 10-34, the 4th leading cause for residents ages 35-54, and the 10th leading cause of death overall.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide. AFSP creates a culture that's smart about mental health through education and community programs, develops suicide prevention through research and advocacy, and provides support for those affected by suicide. Led by CEO Robert Gebbia and headquartered in New York, and with a public policy office in Washington, D.C., AFSP has local chapters in all 50 states with programs and events nationwide. Learn more about AFSP in its latest Annual Report, and join the conversation on suicide prevention by following AFSP on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
SOURCE American Foundation for Suicide Prevention