WASHINGTON, Aug. 6, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- On Friday, July 31, the FY21 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives. Robert Gebbia, Chief Executive Officer for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), the nation's largest suicide prevention organization, released this statement:
"As the nation's largest organization dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide, we would like to thank U.S. House of Representatives leadership for their work on the latest funding they have awarded to suicide prevention. This appropriations bill includes vital increases for programs at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) such as a $6M increase in funding for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK), increased funding to National Strategy for Suicide Prevention Grants including an additional $5M for Zero Suicide, and increased funds for American Indian/Alaskan Native suicide prevention efforts.
Moreover, we are encouraged by the continued funding for Suicide Prevention at the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) following the initial $10 million investment in Fiscal Year 2020. These funds help the CDC to utilize data to identify new prevention strategies to prevent suicide in vulnerable populations and subgroups in which the suicide rate is rising. We hope to see this program grow, and to support the prevention strategies founded and implemented by the research.
AFSP has long been a supporter of suicide prevention research, and the work to expand language within the Labor-HHS bill will help support important research efforts. Specifically, AFSP applauds the inclusion of language that encourages increased collaboration between the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) with the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) to examine the relationship between suicide and substance use disorders, including opioid abuse.
We would like to thank Congressman Ben McAdams (D-UT-4) for his leadership in proposing an amendment for increased funding for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline will receive $6 million for FY 2021 – an amount that will help the Lifeline meet increasing demand. In addition, we thank Representatives Pete Stauber (R-MN-8) and Don Young (R-AK-1) for including an amendment to increase suicide prevention funding at SAMHSA for Native American and Alaskan Native Suicide Prevention programs that nearly doubles the program's current funding.
We would like to thank the appropriations leaders in the House of Representatives, Chairwoman of the Labor-HHS Subcommittee Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-3) and Ranking Member Tom Cole (R-OK-4) and Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-NY-17) and Ranking Member Kay Granger (R-TX-12) of the full House Appropriations Committee for their bipartisan leadership. Additionally, we would like to thank Speaker of the House of Nancy Pelosi (D-CA-12), and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA-23).
AFSP's nearly 29,000 volunteer Field Advocates have continued to call their members of Congress and make their voices heard. They are the true heroes making suicide prevention the priority it deserves to be. Through their efforts on the front line we can continue our lifesaving work.
We are hopeful that the United States Senate will prioritize suicide prevention and support this necessary funding."
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, with an Advocacy office in Washington, DC, 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