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Reps. Beyer, Katko, and Napolitano Launch Bipartisan House Suicide Prevention Task Force

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Washington, September 14, 2017 | comments

Reps. Don Beyer (D-VA) and John Katko (R-NY) today announced the formation of a new bipartisan House Suicide Prevention Task Force. The launch of the Suicide Prevention Task Force came as mental health advocates marked the 42nd annual National Suicide Prevention Week.

“Suicide is a tragedy which affects all of us, and it is incumbent upon all of us to do what we can to prevent it,” said Rep. Don Beyer. “I have lost so many friends who took their lives during a time of crisis, losses I feel particularly keenly during September, which is Suicide Prevention Month. There is more that Congress can do to raise awareness and save lives, and that’s why we have formed this Task Force.”

Rep. John Katko said, “Suicide has affected far too many families in Central New York and in communities nationwide.  It is clear there is a vital need to raise awareness for suicide prevention and to reduce the stigma associated with seeking mental healthcare. I’m proud to join together with a bipartisan group of my colleagues to launch this Task Force so that we can work to combat the prevalence of suicide and to provide greater support for those suffering with mental health issues.”

The Task Force will be part of the Congressional Mental Health Caucus, founded and chaired by Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-CA).

“Suicide affects all demographics, but because of stigma we still do not speak about it,” said Rep. Grace Napolitano. “It is vital that we continue to educate our colleagues and find ways to address this epidemic in a bipartisan manner. As Chair of the Congressional Mental Health Caucus, I look forward to supporting the efforts of the Suicide Prevention Taskforce and thank Congressmen Beyer and Katko for their leadership.” 

The suicide rate in the US rose to a 30-year high in 2016, compounded by the opioid crisis and an alarmingly high veteran suicide rate.

“As the nation’s largest suicide prevention organization, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention knows how important it is to make suicide prevention a higher priority in our country. By forming a task force, Representatives Beyer, Katko, and Napolitano are encouraging other members of Congress to recognize the importance of this issue. Their dedication and time spent on this will help save lives. We encourage others on Capitol Hill to join them,” said Robert Gebbia, AFSP CEO.

Those who are in crisis or know someone in crisis are encouraged call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for help.  

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