Bipartisan bill would focus on teen suicide
In an effort to improve mental health services for young people and prevent youth suicides, U.S. Sens. Jack Reed, a Democrat, and Lisa Murkowski, a Republican, recently introduced the bipartisan Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act Reauthorization.
The reauthorization will help improve access to counseling for at-risk teens and promote the development of statewide suicide intervention and prevention strategies. It will also increase federal funding for competitive grants to help states, colleges, universities and tribes improve mental and behavioral health counseling services. Overall, the bill authorizes the federal government to award up to $44 million annually to help states and nonprofit institutions prevent youth suicide.
Suicide is now the second leading cause of death for adolescents and young adults age 10 to 24. It results in 4,800 lives lost each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Additionally, the CDC reports that 157,000 young adults in this age group are treated for self-inflicted injuries annually.
“The horrific mass shootings we’ve seen at schools across the country shows that more work must be done to address the mental and behavioral health of children and young adults before they hurt themselves and others,” said Reed.