Rep. Napolitano Co-hosts National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention

Jul 24, 2013 Issues: Mental Health
Left to Right: Dr. David Litts, Rep. Grace F. Napolitano, Rep. Tim Ryan, Katherine Deal, Colleen Carr
Rep. Napolitano Co-hosts National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention

Video of briefing available here: http://youtu.be/415z0uwNOcg

(Washington, DC) Today, Rep. Grace F. Napolitano (CA-32) co-hosted a briefing and panel discussion with the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention (Action Alliance) to examine mental health and suicide in America today and to educate Members of Congress and staff on what the organization is doing to save lives.

“Mental health is beginning to draw more attention in this country,” Napolitano said. “I thank the Action Alliance for bringing us together and continuing the dialogue that is so critical to all of us. We know mental illness knows no boundaries, so we must continue to raise awareness of the warning signs and symptoms and let those suffering know it is always okay to ask for help.”

Napolitano was joined by Rep. Tim Ryan (OH-13) and representatives from the Action Alliance. The panelists presented ways to change the national narratives around suicide and suicide prevention to ones that promote hope, connectedness, social support, resilience, treatment and recovery.

The Action Alliance was launched in 2010 by Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Former Department of Defense Secretary Robert Gates to advance the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention (NSSP), which has a goal to save 20,000 lives in five years.

“We are trying to change the conversation around suicide in this country,” said Dr. David Litts, Executive Secretary, Action Alliance. “We need to be talking more about employing the solutions and less about describing the problem.”

“Everyone has a role to play in advancing the NSSP,” said Katherine Deal, Deputy Secretary, Action Alliance. “It should serve as a guide for policy-makers and other leaders to help improve the health and well-being of our nation and put systems in place that ensure those who struggle with suicidal thoughts and behaviors have access to the services and supports they so profoundly need.”

Napolitano has been active in securing mental health parity in health insurance, promoting mental health legislation, and raising the profile of mental health in Congress. She began funding a pilot program to provide mental health and suicide prevention services on-site in schools in her congressional district in 2001. The program has since expanded to 16 schools and serves as a pilot program for H.R. 628, the Mental Health in Schools Act of 2013. It currently has 72 cosponsors in the House and the support of mental health organizations from across the country. Senator Al Franken (D-MN.) has introduced the Senate version of the bill (S.195), which currently has 20 cosponsors.

If you or someone you know needs help, call the SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

 

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