WASHINGTON, July 29, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — About Thursday July 28the Senate Appropriations Committee released the Departments of Labour, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Funding Bill for Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) that will support fiscal investments in health mental health and suicide prevention. Laurel StineExecutive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) issues the following statement:

AFSP Congratulates the Senate Appropriations Committee on the Release of the Funding Bill for the Ministries of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies and Thanks the President Patrick Leahy for his leadership and commitment to mental health. This budget includes significant investments in several mental health and suicide prevention programs, with specific funding for crisis care services. AFSP is grateful to the Committee for prioritizing suicide prevention and encourages early passage of this FY23 spending bill.

In 2020, nearly 46,000 Americans committed suicide.I We know that while suicide can affect anyone, it can be prevented through prevention, intervention and postvention programs, in addition to ending stigma and raising awareness. Vital investments in prevention and research programs can have a positive impact on reducing suicide and saving lives. According to CDC data, August 2020 as of February 2021, more than 4 in 10 adults reported suffering from anxiety or depression.ii From 2009 to 2019, the number of high school students reporting feelings of sadness or hopelessness increased by 40%, the number of those seriously contemplating suicide increased by 36%, and the number of those developing a suicide plan. suicide increased by 44%.iii Nearly one in twenty American adults (4.9%) report having had serious suicidal thoughts in the past year.iv This budget provides the necessary funds to deal with these worrying rates.

Among the essential allowances included in this bill are $697 million for the new dialing code 988 and National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (Lifeline). In line with President Biden’s FY23 budget proposal, this funding would be used to strengthen and expand the network of more than 180 state and local call centers to support the ongoing implementation of the new line of 988 suicide and crisis hotline. By investing in all points of the crisis care continuum, this funding will enable Lifeline to improve technology, infrastructure and workforce not only in its many call centers, but also in mobile teams. crisis intervention and stabilization facilities to provide essential holistic supports for people experiencing a mental health, addiction or suicide crisis.

This spending bill also offers increased funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s comprehensive suicide prevention program. $10 million compared to the levels of the previous year. The CDC’s comprehensive suicide prevention program, currently with grantees in 11 states, targets populations at disproportionately high suicide risk through approaches and programs that use tailored strategies to specifically address the unique needs of these people. communities. These groups may include veterans, LGBTQ youth and adults, residents of rural communities, tribal people, and youth, and specific strategies may involve reducing access to lethal means, educating providers, peer programming and provider education, among others. The AFSP has advocated for greater investment in the comprehensive suicide prevention program, and we are grateful for the inclusion of $30 million in this spending bill.

Other investments in the Mental Health Block Grants at $1.42 billion (an augmentation of $564 million in FY22) with an increase from 5% to 10% of the crisis care reserve will expand grant programs for community mental health services. In addition, the invoice includes $385 million for Certified Community Behavioral Health Centers (CCBHC), an increase in $70 million in FY22 as well as increases for Garret Lee Smith’s Youth Suicide Prevention Program through state and campus grants as well as new investments in its resource center.

The inclusion of these significant increases over prior year levels is extremely encouraging and demonstrates the Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Committee’s continued prioritization in the FY23 budget. AFSP thanks the Committee for its commitment to supporting the mental health of all Americans and urges the Senate to quickly pass this FY23 funding bill. We look forward to Congress enacting a full FY23 budget within coming months and for further collaboration on suicide prevention initiatives in the future.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide, including those who have had a loss. The AFSP creates a smart mental health culture through educational and community programs, develops suicide prevention through research and advocacy, and provides support for those affected by suicide. Led by CEO Robert Gebbia and whose head office is at New Yorkwith an advocacy office at washington d.c., AFSP has local chapters in all 50 states with nationwide programs and events. Find out more about the AFSP in its latest Annual Reportand join the conversation on suicide prevention by following AFSP on Facebook, Twitter, instagramand Youtube.

I Ehlman DC, Yard E, Stone DM, Jones CM, Mack KA. Changes in Suicide Rates — United States, 2019 and 2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2022;71:306–312.
ii US Department of Health and Human Services/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021). Anxiety or Depressive Disorder Symptoms and Mental Health Care Utilization in Adults During the COVID-19 Pandemic — United StatesAugust 2020–February 2021.
iii United States Office of the Surgeon General. (2021.) Protecting the mental health of young people: the opinion of the surgeon general of the United States.
iv Administration of addiction and mental health services. (2021.) 2020 National Drug Use and Health Survey Annual National Report.

SOURCE American Foundation for Suicide Prevention