Senators Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Improve Mental Health Services & Prevent Youth Suicide To improve mental health services for young people and prevent youth suicides, U.S. Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) introduced the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act Reauthorization
PoliticalNews.me - Jan 24,2013 - Senators Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Improve Mental Health Services & Prevent Youth Suicide
WASHINGTON, DC -- In an effort to improve mental health services for young people and prevent youth suicides, U.S. Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) introduced the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act Reauthorization.
The reauthorization will help improve access to counseling for at-risk teens and promote the development of statewide suicide early intervention and prevention strategies. It will also increase federal funding for competitive grants to help states, colleges, universities, and tribes improve mental and behavioral health counseling services. Overall, the bill authorizes the federal government to award up to $44 million annually to help states and non-profit institutions prevent youth suicide.
Suicide is now the second leading cause of death for adolescents and young adults age 10 to 24 – up from the third leading cause of death in this population just a few years ago – and results in 4,800 lives lost each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Additionally, the CDC reports that 157,000 young adults in this age group are treated for self-inflicted injuries annually, often as the result of a failed suicide attempt.
“The horrific mass shootings we’ve seen at schools across the country shows that more work must be done to address the mental and behavioral health of children and young adults before they hurt themselves and others. Many young people have a treatable mental illnesses, but they don't get the help they need. This bill provides critical resources for prevention and outreach programs to help reach at-risk youth before it is too late,” said Senator Jack Reed, who noted that in Rhode Island there are more than twice as many suicides as homicides. “Schools, colleges, and universities are on the front lines of preventing youth suicide and this bill will help provide them with additional resources to diagnose and treat our young people, as well as improve access to care by supporting the training of more qualified mental health professionals.”
“Far too many young Alaskan lives are lost in the epidemic of youth suicide, and the statistics are worst in our rural areas,” said Senator Lisa Murkowski. “When our young people are in despair and get to a certain point, they make a mistaken decision to take their own lives. We owe it to them and to our nation’s future to cast the net upstream and stop them along the way, listen to them and help them overcome their frustrations in a constructive way to stop the cycle and provide a better example to their peers.”
The Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act Reauthorization is also cosponsored by U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Susan Collins (R-ME), Tom Udall (D-NM), Patty Murray (D-WA), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Christopher Coons (D-DE), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).
The federally-funded National Suicide Prevention Lifeline -- 1-800-273-TALK (8255) -- is a national network of more than 140 suicide prevention crisis centers around the United States which