Senator Hassan Speaks with Students and Mental Health Advocates
MANCHESTER – Today, U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan hosted a roundtable 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. Leaders from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, NAMI NH, Connor’s Climb, and other mental health organizations, as well as student advocates, attended today’s roundtable.
“I also just have to give all of the young people here in particular a shout out, but also young people all across New Hampshire. You all have really led the charge about the need to address mental health in our schools and in our youth community generally,” Senator Hassan told event attendees this morning. “The bravery in doing that has really changed the conversation and it’s so important when stigma exists, for people to challenge that stigma—and young people in New Hampshire have really stepped up and helped us do that.”
“We’re talking about mental health in a way today that just a few years ago was unimaginable, again, because of the stigma that was attached to mental illness,” Senator Hassan also said. “I have been really struck and really find it heartbreaking that when I talk to young people around New Hampshire, so many of them have a friend or a family member or a classmate who has attempted or died by suicide. It is just really striking to me and, frankly, it is striking to a lot of adults in our community.”
Senator Hassan then discussed how her STANDUP Act will address students’ concerns by encouraging schools to implement evidence-based policies and trainings so teachers and administrators can have the tools they need to spot the warning signs of suicides. It also requires the administration to publish best practices for student suicide awareness and prevention training, as well as provide technical assistance in helping schools implementing these policies.
Senator Hassan is focused on supporting young people across New Hampshire and ensuring that they have the mental health resources that they need. Senator Hassan worked to establish a new 9-8-8 suicide prevention hotline and recently announced $338,302 that she worked to secure for New Hampshire to help the state stand up the hotline. Last month, Senator Hassan joined in introducing legislation to establish a new federal grant program to hire and retain mental health providers in schools. The most recent government funding bill that Senator Hassan helped to pass into law also bill includes $120 million for Project AWARE, which will expand efforts to identify and help children and youth in need of mental health care, and $111 million for Department of Education programs designed to increase the availability of mental health services in schools.