NEWTOWN, Conn., Sept. 30, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Last night, the U.S. House of Representatives voted unanimously in favor of the Suicide Training and Awareness Nationally Delivered for Universal Prevention (STANDUP) Act of 2020. The bill encourages states to expand access to evidence-based suicide prevention training to students in grades 6 through 12.
“I can’t think of a better way to recognize National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month than the House of Representatives voting to expand access to evidence-based suicide prevention programs for young people. It’s more important than ever to prioritize this kind of training,” 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 are deeply grateful to the bipartisan sponsors of the STANDUP Act—Representatives Scott Peters (D-CA), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Ted Deutch (D-FL) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA— who championed this life-saving legislation.”
“Teaching students and school personnel to understand and recognize signs of violent or suicidal ideation in youth and their peers is crucial to stem the crises of youth suicide and violence,” said Rep. Peters. “Early prevention can mean the difference between life or death, and giving schools the tools they need to prevent and react to threats before tragedy occurs ensures we are protecting our children and school safety.”
“There is no higher priority than keeping our children safe. By providing high quality screening and prevention training to school staff and peers, we can identify threats before they materialize, and ensure that those who are at risk get the mental health treatment they need,” said Rep. Bilirakis.
In addition to the STANDUP Act, the House voted in favor of three other suicide prevention bills supported by Sandy Hook Promise to help prevent youth suicide:
- Mental Health Services for Students Act (H.R. 1109), which would provide funding for public schools across the country to partner with local mental health professionals to establish on-site mental health care services for students;
- Effective Suicide Screening and Assessment in the Emergency Department Act (H.R. 4861) which would assist emergency departments to develop better suicide risk protocols through the Department of Health and Human Services; and
- Pursuing Equity in Mental Health Act of 2019 (H.R. 5469), the first comprehensive federal legislation to addresses increasing suicide rates and mental health disorders among Black youth by providing grants for culturally appropriate mental health services in schools and community settings.
In June, Arriana Gross, a high school junior in Covington, Georgia and a Sandy Hook Promise Youth Advisory Board member, spoke to members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee during a hearing on mental health about the importance of addressing teen suicide and mental wellness. In her testimony, Arriana asked the Committee to advance the STANDUP Act as well as the Mental Health Services for Students Act.
The STANDUP Act now awaits consideration in the United States Senate.
About Sandy Hook Promise: Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) is a national nonprofit organization based in Newtown, Connecticut. SHP is led by several family members whose loved ones were killed in the tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012. SHP’s mission is to create a culture engaged in preventing shootings, violence, and other harmful acts in schools. Through its proven Know the Signs programs, SHP educates and empowers youth and adults to recognize, intervene, and get help for individuals who may be socially isolated and/or at risk of hurting themselves or others. SHP is a moderate, above-the-politics organization that supports sensible program and policy solutions that address the “human side” of gun violence by preventing individuals from ever getting to the point of picking up a firearm to hurt themselves or others. Our words, actions, and impact nationwide are intended to honor all victims of gun violence by turning our tragedy into a moment of transformation.
SOURCE Sandy Hook Promise