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Senators Hassan, Ernst Announce Introduction of Bipartisan Bill to Prevent Youth Suicide

Announcement Comes On National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Joni Ernst (R-IA) announced that they will introduce the bipartisan Suicide Training and Awareness Nationally Delivered for Universal Prevention (STANDUP) Act to address rising youth suicide rates on Monday. The bill introduction comes during Mental Health Awareness Month, and today is National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day.


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 requiring 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 prevalence of youth suicide is heartbreaking, and amid significant mental health challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more crucial than ever that we work together to address this issue,” said Senator Maggie Hassan. “This bill would provide vital support to young people by helping implement evidence-based policies to reduce the risk of suicide. I am glad to work on a bipartisan basis with Senator Ernst on this issue, and I urge the Senate to pass this much-needed bill.”


“In 2019 one out of every five high school students in Iowa considered suicide. As a mom, this is a truly heartbreaking statistic, and we need to do more to raise awareness and prevent these tragic deaths. That’s why I’m working with Democrats and Republicans to ensure that state and local educational agencies that receive federal grants for mental health support implement evidence-based suicide prevention and awareness programs,” said Senator Joni Ernst.


“Suicidal thoughts are on the rise -- on top of suicide already being the second-leading cause of death for young people -- with so many students having become more socially isolated, stressed, and lonely than ever before. 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 and urge more elected officials to act fast to save lives. Millions of students nationwide are counting on you.”


To read the bill text, click here.