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Beyer Introduces Peer-To-Peer Suicide Prevention Legislation

Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) today introduced the Peer-to-Peer Suicide Prevention Act. The bill, modeled on a successful effort in Wisconsin, would empower young people to address mental health by establishing a competitive grant program for middle and high-schools to facilitate student-led suicide prevention programs.

“As part of our push to prevent the terrible epidemic of suicide in the United States and give Americans more resources to support mental health, we should be looking at strategies that are already working – and that includes peer-to-peer support,” said Beyer. “My legislation would help support student-led mental health efforts, which are already showing promise in Wisconsin, across the country. Congress must do all it can to address suicide and mental illness, and I will continue working on that important effort with colleagues in both parties.”

According to the CDC, suicide was among the top 9 leading causes of death for people ages 10-64 and the second leading cause of death for people ages 10-14 and 25-34 in 2020. Overall, there were over 45,000 Americans who died by suicide in 2020, with an estimated 1.2 million suicide attempts.

The Brookings Institute reported that students at risk of suicide are more likely to turn to a peer than an adult or authority figure for help, and Mental Health America recently released a report highlighting demand for peer-to-peer support.

Text of the Peer-to-Peer Suicide Prevention Act is available here.