DearColleague.us

Letter

Sending Office: Honorable Scott H. Peters
Sent By:
Baillee.Brown@mail.house.gov

        Request for Signature(s)

CLOSING TODAY: please fill out this form to sign on

Dear Colleague,

As Congress continues to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, we hope you will join us to call on leadership to include provisions related to suicide prevention in the next COVID-19 package. We must support our nation’s system of crisis response services,
fortify our emergency departments to adequately respond to self-harm, and prepare schools to address the mental health needs of children upon their return in the fall.

A mix of compounding factors stemming from the pandemic, including economic stress, social isolation, and barriers to support, may exacerbate risk factors for suicidal ideation. The Journal of American Medicine Association published a
report on April 10 noting, “Remarkable social distancing interventions have been implemented to fundamentally reduce human contact. While these steps are expected to reduce the
rate of new infections, the potential for adverse outcomes on suicide risk is high.” Many crisis centers from across the country have reported increased call volume since the beginning of this crisis.

We hope you will join us to support suicide prevention measures during this critical time. To sign on,

please fill out this form
by COB on Monday, April 27. For more information, please contact Baillee Brown with Rep. Peters at baillee.brown@mail.house.gov or Chris Jones with Rep. Bilirakis at cjones@mail.house.gov. 

Sincerely,

Rep. Scott Peters

Rep. Gus M. Bilirakis

Rep. Eliot Engel

Rep. John Katko

Rep. Paul Tonko

Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick

 

Dear Speaker Pelosi and Leader McCarthy:

As the country continues to respond to the outbreak of COVID-19, we must prioritize the public’s mental health and mitigate potential increased suicide risks due to this unprecedented public health crisis and growing economic insecurity. We must support
our nation’s system of crisis response services, fortify our emergency departments to adequately respond to self-harm, and prepare schools to address the mental health needs of children upon their return in the fall.

We urge you to consider incorporating provisions in any future coronavirus response and recovery package aimed at addressing these mental health challenges associated with COVID-19, including:

  1. Enhanced Funding for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:

Increase appropriations by $61 million for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL): 
With demand for suicide prevention and mental health crisis services provided by the NSPL increasing, we ask that you consider additional funding for the NSPL to ensure Americans can quickly receive the help they need.  We request an additional $61M
dollars from the current $19M NSPL funding level, totaling $80M, to respond to increased crisis call volume and build out crisis chat capacity.

  1. Provide Emergency Departments Suicide Screening and Assessment Tools:

Inclusion of H.R.4861/S.3006 – the Effective Suicide Screening and Assessment in the Emergency Department Act

We ask that you consider the Effective Suicide Screening and Assessment in the Emergency Department Act to assist emergency departments to develop better suicide risk protocols through the Department of Health and Human
Services. The emergency department is often the place within the health care system that provides care for patients with suicide-risk factors, with approximately 10 percent of emergency department patients presenting suicidal ideations. 39% of patients visiting
an Emergency Department following a suicide attempt will go on to reattempt suicide within a year.  This legislation will provide training to emergency health care providers, establish policies to improve identification and treatment of individuals at high
risk, employ additional behavioral health professionals, and improve access to care for patients.

  1. Prepare and Provide Schools and Students Tools for Increased Suicidal Ideations:

Inclusion of H.R.2599/S. 2492 suicide prevention provisions – the Suicide Training and Awareness Nationally Delivered for Universal Prevention Act of 2019 (STANDUP Act)

We ask that you consider the student suicide prevention provisions from the Senate counterpart to the
STANDUP Act to encourage implementation of school policies for student suicide prevention training and provide best practices and technical assistance on student suicide prevention from SAMHSA. Suicide is the second-leading cause of death for youth,
and the coronavirus pandemic has increased youth anxiety; it is critical we provide our students with the tools to prevent suicide both virtually and in-person to decrease the risk factors of suicide.

Thank you for considering the public’s mental health needs that will be exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis. We appreciate your leadership during these challenging times and are ready to assist in responding to this major public health threat.

Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information:Appropriations, Education, HealthCare

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