WASHINGTON (WSET) — A new bill aimed at preventing youth suicide is on the table in the U.S. Senate.
Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., co-introduced the Child Suicide Prevention and Lethal Means Safety Act with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, to target the second leading cause of death for people between the ages of 10 and 24, according to a statement released by Kaine.
“In recent years, we’ve seen alarming spikes in anxiety, depression, and other mental health challenges among the nation’s youth,” Kaine said. “We must do more to expand access to mental health care and prevent youth suicide. This bill is critical to doing that by providing more training and resources for youth suicide prevention initiatives.”
The act would fund suicide prevention initiatives, make sure healthcare providers receive training to prevent intentional hard, and create a centralized hub to provide safety information to at-risk youth and their support networks.
Sens. Kaine and Schatz intended to combat a 52% spike in suicide rates among young Americans, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The statement included the specific actions the legislation would accomplish:
- Establish a grant program to provide funding for initiatives that offer youth suicide prevention and lethal means safety education, training, and resources to health care professionals.
- Establish a grant program to integrate lethal means safety and suicide prevention topics into curricula at health professional schools to ensure that future nurses, doctors, and mental and behavioral health care providers have received the education and training that will allow them to prevent lethal means injuries, deaths, and suicides among their patients.
- Create a centralized hub to provide important lethal means safety and suicide prevention information to at-risk youth and their family members, health professional schools, and health care providers.
Companion legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives by Reps. Lauren Underwood, D-Ill., and Kim Schrier, D-Wash. Both House members and Schatz introduced similar pieces of legislation during the previous Congress.
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