FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sandy Hook Promise Applauds Bipartisan Senate Introduction of the STANDUP Act,
Suicide Prevention Legislation
September 12, 2019 – Newtown, CT – Today, Sandy Hook Promise praised the introduction of bipartisan legislation, the STANDUP Act (Suicide Training and Awareness Nationally Delivered for Universal Prevention), by U.S. Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO), Doug Jones (D-AL), Chris Coons (D-DE), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), John Cornyn (R-TX), and Maggie Hassan (D-NH).
Suicide has been the second-leading cause of death among young people between the ages of 10 and 24 since 2010. This, coupled with other senseless deaths due to school shootings and acts of violence in schools, points to a serious public health crisis. Youth suicide and violence against others is preventable, given that 70% of those who die by suicide tell someone of their plans or demonstrate warning signs and 80% of school shooters tell someone of their plans prior to acting. Yet, too many youth and adults are unaware of the warning signs and signals to look for, and how to properly intervene before a tragedy can occur.
“The rates of youth suicide and violence occurring in our country’s schools are appalling. We know that with proper training in schools that self-harm, violence, and suicide can be preventable. We are proud to partner with these bipartisan champions to pass this critical legislation so that more youth and adults 'know the signs’ to properly intervene before a tragedy can occur and we urge Congress to pass this bill,” said Mark Barden, co-founder and managing director of Sandy Hook Promise and father of Daniel who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting.
Today’s introduction of the bipartisan STANDUP Act is a crucial step in curbing these suicide rates and making our schools safer, overall. If passed, the bill would encourage states to expand access to evidence-based suicide prevention training to every student in grades 6 through 12 in the U.S.
“When I travel across all four corners of our state holding roundtables and hearing from constituents, the topic of suicide comes up in almost every conversation,” said Senator Gardner. “Suicide accounts for two-thirds of all gun deaths and is now the leading cause of death for young people in Colorado. Something has to be done to keep students safe. I thank my colleagues and Sandy Hook Promise for working together across the aisle to develop evidence-based policy to address mental health and suicides in our nation’s schools.”
“It is crucial that we provide students with resources to help them take care of their mental health,” said Senator Jones. “Alabama leads the country with its suicide awareness and prevention training for students and educators, and the STANDUP Act will ensure that similar standards are expanded nationwide. We have to do everything we can to stop the alarming trend of rising suicide rates among young people.”
According to a CDC study, more than 17% of youth in the U.S. seriously considered attempting suicide and another 14% went as far as making a suicide plan between 2016 and 2017. Research has shown that evidence-based suicide prevention programs have been effective in increasing help seeking behaviors, reducing suicide, bullying and aggression, and have lowered expulsion and suspension rates.
“The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is proud to work with Sandy Hook Promise, on this life-saving bill. Many thanks to Senators Cory Gardner and Doug Jones for their bipartisan leadership in introducing the STANDUP Act, our children’s lives will be better with the passage of this important legislation,” said John H. Madigan, Jr., Senior Vice President and Chief Public Policy Officer.
Sandy Hook Promise’s evidence-informed Know the Signs violence prevention programs -- including Say Something and the Say Something Anonymous Reporting System -- have helped avert multiple school shooting plots, teen suicides, and countless other acts of violence. These programs, among others, would meet the STANDUP Act requirements for states. At least 20 states currently have laws in place that mandate some manner of suicide prevention training for students or staff.
About Sandy Hook Promise: Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) is a national nonprofit organization based in Newtown, Connecticut. SHP is led by several family members whose loved ones were killed in the tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012. SHP’s mission is to prevent gun violence and other forms of violence and victimization BEFORE they can happen by creating a culture of engaged youth and adults committed to identifying, intervening, and getting help for individuals who might be at risk of hurting themselves or others. SHP is a moderate, above-the-politics organization that supports sensible program and policy solutions that address the “human side” of gun violence by preventing individuals from ever getting to the point of picking up a firearm to hurt themselves or others. Our words, actions, and impact nationwide are intended to honor all victims of gun violence by turning our tragedy into a moment of transformation. For more information, visit www.SandyHookPromise.org or call 203-304-9780.
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