On June 11, 2019, The National Council for Suicide Prevention along with numerous behavioral health, military and veterans organizations invited everyone to stand at the Reflecting Pool at the US Capitol and send a message to Congress that suicide prevention needs to be a priority in the USA. Top leaders in the field of suicide prevention and members of Congress spoke to the crowd of hundreds along with individuals who have attempted suicide and families who have lost a loved one to suicide.
Suicide is a national public health crisis and one of the leading causes of death that has been steadily on the rise. The Federal Government needs to make suicide prevention research a priority. We need $150 million for NIMH, specifically for suicide research, in parity with funding for wars on cancer or Alzheimer’s. (National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention’s Recommended Standard Care)
The FDA needs to expedite the review and approval process for new medications to treat those living with depression and other mental health conditions, while maintaining the highest standards of effectiveness and safety for patients.
We need improved access to quality community mental health care in order to help prevent suicide. Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics, which are supported by SAMHSA and included in the President’s FY’19 budget, are an important vehicle for better access to quality community mental health care. We urge Congress to enact the bipartisan Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Expansion Act, S. 1905 and H.R. 3931, to expand this important program beyond its current 8 state limit. (S.1905 and HR.3931 Fact Sheet)
We need to ensure that people in crisis have access to comprehensive crisis services, phone hotline, chat and text, and that the quality and capacity of the crisis services meets the need. We urge Congress to enact the bipartisan H.R. 2345, The National Suicide Hotline Improvement Act of 2017. The US Senate approved the companion bill, S. 1015 in October 2017.
We urge Congress to invest in suicide prevention programming to address unmet needs in adult suicide prevention, expansion of SAMHSA Zero Suicide pilot grants to behavioral health care settings, and development of CDC pilot grants to states to implement and evaluate comprehensive community-based suicide prevention.
Thank you Congress for fully funding the 50 state National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) at $23.5 million in FY’19. NVDRS collects data and provides tools necessary for public health officials and policy makers to design and implement targeted suicide prevention efforts. (National Violent Death Reporting System Fact Sheet)