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ICYMI: Senator Hassan Hosts Roundtable on Youth Suicide Prevention

The President Recently Signed Into Law Senator Hassan’s Bipartisan STANDUP Act to Help Prevent Youth Suicide

MANCHESTER – In case you missed it, U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan hosted a roundtable last week on youth suicide prevention with Granite State students, educators, and mental health and suicide prevention advocates at the Manchester School of Technology. She discussed how her bipartisan STANDUP Act, which is now law, will strengthen mental health resources for young people and help prevent youth suicide.

See below for coverage highlights:

Manchester Ink Link: Hassan gathers local roundtable to discuss youth mental health

By Andrew Sylvia

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Photo credit: Andrew Sylvia/Manchester Ink Link

On Wednesday, U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) joined local experts in youth mental health and suicide prevention at Manchester School of Technology to discuss efforts to prevent youth suicide in New Hampshire.

Hassan began with information about the STANDUP Act, a piece of legislation she sponsored and was co-sponsored by nine other members of her caucus and seven Republicans that requires the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to give priority for grants that implement evidence-based suicide awareness and prevention training policies in states, tribal governments and local educational agencies. The bill was signed into law by President Biden on March 15.

The Senator then heard feedback from the assembled roundtable on continuing efforts to prevent and respond to youth suicide and mental illness in the state, ranging from students providing peer-based support to Mary Forsythe-Taber, Executive Director of Manchester-based Makin’ It Happen, a non-profit organization seeking to create a coordinated community response around improving youth mental health.

Hassan was pleased with the dialogue she heard during the roundtable and hopes that school districts, non-profit organizations and students are able to avail themselves of the resources provided by the federal government that will be facilitated from the passage of the STANDUP Act.

“The feedback I got today was so important. What it tells me is that we have young people in this state who are very aware that mental illness is a real problem and they’re very concerned about their friends. They are also very aware that there are tools out there that can keep each other safe,” said Hassan.

Hassan also noted that the issue of youth mental illness is not unique to New Hampshire and said she advocates for greater funding to hire mental health professionals across the country, mental health equity to help make mental health be seen no differently than general health needs, and increased access to broadband internet to help those suffering from depression who would prefer to receive therapy through telemedicine appointments.

 

WMUR: New Hampshire schools see increase in violence, behavioral issues among students

By Jennifer Crompton

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Schools across the country and in New Hampshire are reporting an increase in incidents of inappropriate behavior and violence.

From large districts like Manchester's to small rural communities, school officials said students are bringing strong emotions to school, in many places, leading to an increase in fights.

[…] Students and advocates for mental health and suicide prevention spoke Wednesday with U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan about how the pandemic has exacerbated the youth mental health crisis.

[…] President Joe Biden signed into law last month the STANDUP Act, which is aimed at training teachers, administrators and students how to see warning signs of mental illness or suicide, and how to reach out and help.

"That's really the hope here is incentivizing schools to take this on, providing them with supports and make sure they're using the most up-to-date, evidence-based practices," Hassan said.

Experts said the stress and effects of the pandemic are impacting all of society, not just students, but staff and families. They said acknowledging the stress and supporting each other is key.

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