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New Hampshire Mental Health Groups Applaud Senator Hassan’s Bipartisan Bill to Prevent Youth Suicide Signed Into Law

NEW HAMPSHIRE – New Hampshire mental health groups applauded Senator Hassan’s bipartisan bill, which President Biden recently signed into law, to strengthen mental health resources for young people and help prevent youth suicide. The bipartisan STANDUP Act comes as students across New Hampshire have reached out to Senator Hassan about the urgent need to address mental health challenges and expand access to resources for young people. 

“UNH Extension is incredibly excited about the STANDUP Act and Senator Hassan’s focus on youth mental health in NH,” said Dr. Michael Young, Health & Well-Being Program Team Leader at UNH Extension. “We too have been alarmed by the mental health crisis in NH, reflected in disproportionately high suicide rates, that has been exacerbated by the pandemic. We have identified this as one of the most pressing health and well-being needs in NH. We have multiple educational programs that will complement the Senator’s efforts, including: coordinating the statewide implementation of Youth Mental Health First Aid for the NH State Department of Education and facilitating both statewide and local 4-H Teen leadership groups focused on peer to peer education and support.”

“We are incredibly pleased that our country is pulling together with a bipartisan mandate to help support the mental health of our nation’s young people,” said Holly Fenn, President & Co-Founder of Reach 1 Teach 1 Love 1. “Since the loss of my 14-year-old son Dalton by suicide in 2009, I have witnessed suicide rates soar, from 1.3 in 2009 to 2.9 in 2018 (ages 10-14) and from 10.0 in 2009 to 14.5 in 2018 (ages 15-24), CDC. Our organization, reach 1 teach 1 love 1,  is approached multiple times weekly for guidance and resources. The increase of youth suffering in such a devastating way is difficult to witness. In 2019, R1T1L1 celebrated SB 282, signed into law by Gov. Sununu. This law requires NH schools to provide suicide prevention training to all staff. This month, with President Biden's signing of Senator Hassan’s STANDUP Act, suicide prevention training will be accessible nationwide. This offers immeasurable hope to those who understand the gravity our youth are facing with their mental health needs. It is a comfort to know we are all working together to make change and save lives.”

“Connor's Climb Foundation is grateful for Senator Hassan's leadership in passing the STANDUP Act,” said Tara Ball, President of Connor’s Climb. “Now more than ever, our educators and youth need the support, education and tools to ensure that their mental health is just as important as their physical health.  When schools take care of the whole student, it prevents suicide and saves lives.”

"On behalf of the Raymond Coalition For Youth, we would like to thank Senator Hassan and Ernst for their action to bring forth the STANDUP Act,” Celeste Clark, Executive Director of Raymond Coalition for Youth. “The more we can get people to talk about mental health and suicide risk the better. Our young people recognize how important this is. They talk openly about concerns they have for their peers' mental health. Our task is to make it as comfortable for adults to talk about mental health as it is for them to talk about something they do every day like going to the gym or the store. We need adults of all ages to be available, and open to talking about mental health, so when their loved ones, no matter how old they are, will feel comfortable coming forward to express concerns, ask for help, and get connected to resources and support. As a community we need to make sure people know where they can go for these supports: NH 988,, and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Working together to break down stigma and connect people to help, is how we save lives."

“At Makin’ It Happen, we know that when our youth thrive, our communities thrive – and it is important for our schools, youth organizations, and communities to work together to address student mental health and help young people who are struggling,” Mary Forsythe-Taber, Executive Director of Makin’ It Happen Coalition for Resilient Youth. “We are grateful for Senator Hassan’s leadership on student mental health, as well as for her work to pass the STANDUP Act. This bipartisan bill will help invest in mental health services in our schools and communities, and we look forward to seeing the positive effects that it has in our communities.”