Rep. Peters’ STANDUP Act to Prevent Youth Suicide Passes Committee During National Suicide Prevention Week
September 8, 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Scott Peters (CA-52) joined his colleagues of the House Energy and Commerce Committee to amend and pass 38 wide-ranging bills, including Rep. Peters’ and Rep. Gus Bilirakis’ (FL-12) Suicide and Threat Assessment Nationally Dedicated to Universal Prevention (STANDUP) Act, which encourages schools to implement evidence-based suicide prevention training for students.
“During National Suicide Prevention Week, we recognize how the bipartisan STANDUP Act can save lives,” said Rep. Peters. “Students across the country are starting the new school year under uniquely difficult circumstances, and COVID-19 has exacerbated the mental health risks that can lead to suicide. The STANDUP Act promotes youth mental health awareness among schools and communities to prevent violence and suicide.”
There are broad concerns about the effect COVID-19 will have on the mental health of our children and adolescents. Most recently, Mental Health America identified that those 11 through 17 years old are now at higher risk of anxiety and depression. Their summer youth screening revealed a 14 percent increase in youth anxiety and a 10 percent increase in youth depression since their previous report. Anxiety and depression are considered to be major risk factors for suicide, the second-leading cause of death for youth.
Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released data citing that one quarter of young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 reported having considered suicide in the past month due to the pandemic. While the STANDUP Act would only train students in grades 6 through 12 to detect and support youth at risk of death by suicide, teaching young people the signs of suicidal ideation and proven intervention techniques early on means they can carry the knowledge with them into adulthood.
Over 50 national organizations support the STANDUP Act, including Sandy Hook Promise, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and the National Association of School Psychologists.
“Suicide is the second-leading cause of death for youth – and CDC research shows suicidal ideation at an all-time high during the pandemic, with as many as one in four kids having suicidal thoughts. It’s more important than ever to invest in suicide prevention training for our students,” 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 proud to partner with these bipartisan champions to ensure that more youth and adults 'know the signs’ to properly intervene before a tragedy can occur and we urge more elected officials to co-sponsor this important legislation.”