Gonzalez suicide prevention bill passes committee
U.S. Congressmen Anthony Gonzalez’s (R-OH) bill to combat rising suicide rates across the nation passed the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology on Thursday with unanimous support. The bill, introduced alongside Congressman Ben McAdams (D-UT) in October, directs the National Science Foundation to fund research on the science of suicide with the goal of increasing understanding of the root causes of suicide.
CONGRESSMAN GONZALEZ: “We all know we have a mental health crisis in this country, but for me and for my constituents, the suicide problem is a personal one, impacting far too many close to home. Too many times, I have met with a group of constituents to discuss a trade or veteran related policy issue, but the biggest problem on their mind has been the growing suicide threat.”
In Ohio alone, suicide rates among children 14 and under increased by 80 percent from 2008 to 2017 according to the Ohio Alliance for Innovation in Population Health. Farmer suicides have become a large enough problem that suicide prevention is now a major platform of the Ohio Farm Bureau. Nationally, the veteran suicide rate continues to stand out at 1.5 times the rate for non-veteran adults with 6,139 U.S. Veterans dying from suicide in 2017.
H.R. 4704, the Advancing Research to Prevent Suicide Act, directs the National Science Foundation to collaborate with the National Institutes of Health to award competitive grants to colleges and universities and nonprofit organizations to support fundamental research across a range of disciplines and to promote development of researchers who pursue this study as a career. Research conducted under this bill will include impacts of social and economic factors, the use of technology, and the stigma associated with mental health conditions. The measure is endorsed by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the American Psychological Association.