House, Senate Pass Legislation To Provide Funds for Programs To Help Prevent Youth Suicide
Congress on Thursday passed a bill (S 2634) that would allocate $82 million over the next three years for programs to help prevent youth suicide, the AP/Las Vegas Sun reports.
The bill -- sponsored by Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.), whose son Garrett committed suicide last year -- would provide grants to states, American Indian tribes, colleges and universities to develop youth suicide prevention and intervention programs. The legislation would focus on programs that identify mental illness in children and provide referrals for community-based treatment and education for child care professionals (Daly, AP/Las Vegas Sun, 9/9). Under the bill, children would have to obtain parental permission before they could participate in suicide prevention programs funded through the legislation. The House approved the bill on a 352-64 vote (CongressDaily, 9/10). The Senate approved the legislation by voice vote. The bill moves to President Bush for consideration.
"No family should experience the pain of losing a child, and no child should face the challenges of mental illness alone," Smith said, adding, "This legislation tells parents and children that we know their struggles and that help is out there." According to CDC, more than 3,000 children and young adults commit suicide annually (AP/Las Vegas Sun, 9/9).