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Napolitano Honored for Leadership in Mental Health & Suicide Prevention

June 14, 2018
Press Release

(WASHINGTON, DC)  This week, Rep. Grace F. Napolitano (D-El Monte) received awards from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention (Action Alliance)/American Association of Suicidology (AAS), for her leadership in mental health and suicide prevention.

“Stigma continues to be our greatest obstacle to ensuring our loved ones, friends, neighbors, and coworkers get help when in need,” Napolitano said. “This stigma has real consequences as we all were saddened to learn last week of two high-profile deaths by suicide. It goes beyond the wealthy and well-known. Mental health affects everyone, and we must remind those around us it is always okay to seek help. The recent worrisome CDC report shows suicide rates are continuing to rise, but now is not the time to lose hope. Now is the time to work harder. I am grateful to AFSP and Action Alliance/AAS for these recognitions and our continued partnerships to reduce stigma, increase the access and availability of mental health services, and stop suicide.”

Napolitano was presented AFSP’s “Lifetime Achievement Award” at a reception on Tuesday evening. A video of the award presentation and Napolitano’s acceptance speech can be viewed here.

“Representative Napolitano is a true champion of change. As the largest suicide prevention organization in the country, we are fortunate to have her commitment and leadership to mental health and suicide prevention. Leaders like Rep. Napolitano inspire all of us to keep fighting for the life-saving work to reduce the suicide rate and bring hope to those affected by suicide,” said Bob Gebbia, AFSP CEO.

This morning Dr. Jerry Reed, Executive Committee member of the Action Alliance and Senior Vice President of EDC, and Colleen Creighton, Executive Director of AAS, presented the AAS Public Policy Award to Napolitano in her DC office.

“We recognize and appreciate Congresswoman Grace Napolitano’s commitment to advancing the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention, and elevating awareness of the resources needed to combat suicide at the national level. Her persistence and steadfastness to suicide prevention in her district and across the nation has been incredible which is why she is so deserving of this award. From improving access to crisis services to enhancing federal investments in suicide prevention, the Congresswoman has gone to great lengths to ensure fewer people are impacted by this preventable public health issue,” said Dr. Reed and Ms. Creighton.

Napolitano is the founder of the Congressional Mental Health Caucus, where she works alongside her co-chair, Rep. John Katko (R-NY-24), to promote access to mental health services for children and adolescents, improved mental health resources for veterans, and increased mental health coverage for all.

In 2001 Napolitano secured federal funding to create a pilot program to provide on-site, culturally and linguistically appropriate mental health services and suicide prevention services for students. With assistance from Los Angeles County Mental Health, her successful program, which began in four schools, has now expanded to 26 schools throughout the San Gabriel Valley and Southeast LA County. It now serves as a model for H.R. 2913, the Mental Health in Schools Act. H.R. 2913 currently has 62 cosponsors and the support of mental health and education organizations from across the country.

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

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