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Senate Passes Bipartisan Bill Introduced by Senators Hassan, Ernst to Prevent Youth Suicide

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate last night passed bipartisan legislation introduced by Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Joni Ernst (R-IA) to address rising youth suicide rates. The bipartisan Suicide Training and Awareness Nationally Delivered for Universal Prevention (STANDUP) Act passed the Senate on the nine year anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
 
The CDC has found that suicide has been one of the leading causes of death for those aged 10-24. Senators Hassan and Ernst’s bipartisan bill would take important steps to address this by encouraging states, public schools, and Tribes to implement evidence-based policies and trainings to prevent suicides in order to receive certain types of grants, including ones to promote youth mental health awareness among schools and communities and improve connections to services for school-age youth. It also requires that the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration publish best practices for student suicide awareness and prevention training, as well as provide technical assistance in implementing these policies.
 
“The number of young lives taken too soon by suicide is heartbreaking, and I know that far too many communities in New Hampshire have felt the pain of these losses,” Senator Hassan said. “The Senate took an important step yesterday to prevent youth suicide by passing our bipartisan bill to help schools and communities implement programs to reduce the risk of suicide, and I urge the Congress to get this bill across the finish line.”
 
“The increased rate of suicide among our kids and young adults is a tragically alarming trend and a national crisis that deserves nothing less than a united, bipartisan response. As a mom, I can’t be more clear: we cannot fail our kids,” said Senator Ernst. “The U.S. Senate acted and spoke clearly that we stand together in supporting America’s youth and in getting critical mental health support and evidence-based suicide prevention and awareness programs available for those in need.”
 
“For too long suicide has stood in the shadows. This important legislation sponsored by Senator Hassan brings suicide out of the shadows, and sets standards and guidelines for schools and others to provide education and training to address it as the important public health issue that it is. The Stand Up Act will undoubtedly save lives by increasing recognition of youth who may be at risk for suicide and better preparing their peers, educators and others to get them help,” said Kenneth Norton, Executive Director of National Alliance on Mental Illness, New Hampshire.
 
“It’s critically important that kids know what to do when they need help or see a friend in crisis,” said Mark Barden, co-founder and managing director of Sandy Hook Promise and father of Daniel, who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting. “We thank Senators Hassan and Ernst for their leadership in making this life-saving legislation possible.” 
 
Senator Hassan is working across the aisle to prevent suicide and strengthen mental health supports. The President signed into law a bipartisan bill cosponsored by Senator Hassan to authorize the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to create a pilot program on dog training therapy and provide service dogs to veterans with mental health challenges. Senator Hassan also recently introduced a bipartisan bill to improve maternal mental health outcomes for pregnant and postpartum patients, including working to address postpartum depression and anxiety, and maternal suicide – which is a leading cause of maternal mortality and morbidity in the United States. The Senate also recently passed Senators Hassan and Ernst’s bipartisan legislation to designate one week per year as “Buddy Check Week” to organize outreach events and educate veterans on how to conduct peer wellness checks. 
 
To read the bill text, click here.
 
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