WHAT IS THE STANDUP ACT?
The bipartisan STANDUP Act of 2019 is a bill designed to encourage states and tribes to implement and expand evidence-based suicide prevention training. It was introduced with bipartisan support in the House of Representatives as HR2599, the Suicide and Threat Assessment Nationally Dedicated to Universal Prevention Act on May 8, 2019. It was introduced in the Senate as S2492, the Suicide Training and Awareness Nationally Dedicated for Universal Prevention Act on Sept. 17, 2019.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
Across the country, suicide has been the second-leading cause of death among young people between the ages of 10 and 24 since 2010.1 But we know that suicide is preventable, given that 70% of those who die by suicide tell someone of their plans or demonstrate warning signs. Too many youth and adults are unaware of the warning signs and signals to look for, ways of assessing threats when they present themselves and how to properly intervene before a tragedy can occur.
Nationally, two-thirds of gun deaths are suicide by gun. By working to mitigate and reduce suicide rates through student-based programming, we can also advance our mission to end gun violence and protect our children.
WHAT DOES THE STANDUP ACT DO?
Currently, the STANDUP Act bill looks different in the House and the Senate. Both versions of the STANDUP Act would add new requirements to the existing grant program – Project Aware – which was originally created after the Sandy Hook shooting to reduce youth violence. These new requirements would advise states, schools and tribes to expand access to evidence-based suicide prevention training to every 6th-12th grade student, teaching them how to recognize the warning signs of self-harm and methods on how to seek help for themselves and others.
In addition, the House version would also encourage the implementation of school threat assessment policies by states to set guidelines for threat identification, triage and intervention to identify school violence earlier and protect our children from harm.
DO THESE TYPES OF MEASURES WORK?
Research has shown that evidence-based suicide prevention programs and school threat assessment teams have been effective in reducing suicide, interpersonal violence, bullying and aggression, and have lowered expulsion and suspension rates. Additionally, evidence-based school threat assessment teams have been shown to increase the willingness of students to seek help for threats of violence and mental health.2
Sandy Hook Promise believes that all gun violence is preventable and that – by focusing on identifying, intervening and helping individuals who display at-risk behaviors – we can decrease the number of violent acts nationally.
WHAT CAN WE DO TO HELP PASS THE STANDUP ACT?
Contact your representative or senator and ask them for positive action on the STANDUP Act (HR2599 or S2492). Send them a message here.
1. CDC, NCHS Data Brief, Number 352, October 2019, https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db352-h.pdf