Satcher to Unveil Suicide Prevention Initiative
Surgeon General David Satcher will unveil Wednesday a "National Strategy on Suicide Prevention" that is aimed at reducing both the number of suicides and the stigma of mental illness, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. Speaking at the University of Pittsburgh's graduation, Satcher said that mental illnesses, including depression, cause 80% to 90% of the 30,000 suicides that occur each year in the United States, adding that "social stigma" contributes to suicide by "keep[ing] people from seeking treatment." Satcher added that the new initiative, "18 months in the making," would have a threefold focus: an attempt to make Americans more aware of "the magnitude and nature of the problem of suicide," improve ways to diagnose and treat mental illness to prevent suicides and increase the amount of research on suicide. "If we are able to recognize and diagnose depression early, we should be able to prevent many of the suicides that are taking place today," he said (Barnes, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 4/30).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.