WASHINGTON—U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), and Chris Murphy (D-CT) introduced a resolution recognizing September as National Suicide Prevention Month. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States and the second leading cause of death among Americans between the ages of 10 and 34.
“Every life has meaning, value and potential, and suicide deprives the world of seeing that value,” said Dr. Cassidy. “Senator Murphy and I are working together to ensure those struggling with mental illness have the resources they need, and to increase awareness of the prevalence of suicide and what everyone can do to prevent this needless loss of life.”
“Senator Cassidy and I are introducing this resolution to help break through the stigma that continues to surround mental illness, and remind people that there are people willing and able to help. Too many people, especially veterans and young people, take their own lives because they feel it’s their only option. Every suicide is preventable, and Congress can play a role in educating people about the many resources that are available to help people in crisis,” said Senator Murphy.
Senators John Kennedy (R-LA), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Jack Reed (D-RI), and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) cosponsored the resolution.
Cassidy and Murphy coauthored the Mental Health Reform Act, one of the largest reforms to our nation’s mental health system, and continue to push for the full implementation of the reforms that will improve the lives of those with mental illness.
The full text if the resolution is below.
Title: Recognizing suicide as a serious public health problem and expressing support for the designation of September as “National Suicide Prevention Month”.
Whereas suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States and the second leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 10 and 34;
Whereas, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (referred to in this preamble as the “CDC”), 1 person dies by suicide every 12.3 minutes, resulting in nearly 45,000 deaths each year in the United States;
Whereas, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs, 20 members of the Armed Forces on active duty, members of the reserve components of the Armed Forces who are not on active duty, or veterans die by suicide each day, resulting in more than 7,000 deaths each year;
Whereas the suicide rate in the United States has steadily increased every year from 1999 through 2016;
Whereas it is estimated that there are more than 1,100,000 suicide attempts each year in the United States;
Whereas more than half of individuals who die by suicide did not have a known mental health condition;
Whereas, according to the CDC, many factors contribute to suicide among individuals with and without known mental health conditions, including challenges related to relationships, substance abuse, physical health, and stress regarding work, money, legal problems, or housing;
Whereas, according to the CDC, suicide results in an estimated $44,600,000,000 in combined medical and work-loss costs in the United States each year;
Whereas the stigma associated with mental health conditions and suicidality hinders suicide prevention by discouraging at-risk individuals from seeking life-saving help and further traumatizes survivors of suicide loss and people with lived experience of suicide; and
Whereas September is an appropriate month to designate as “National Suicide Prevention Month” because September 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day, a day recognized internationally and supported by the World Health Organization: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the Senate—
(1) recognizes suicide as a serious and preventable national and State public health problem;
(2) supports the designation of September as “National Suicide Prevention Month”;
(3) declares suicide prevention as a priority;
(4) acknowledges that no single suicide prevention program or effort will be appropriate for all populations or communities;
(5) promotes awareness that there is no single cause of suicide; and
(6) supports strategies to increase access to high-quality mental health, substance abuse, and suicide prevention services.