Lawmakers ask for increase in suicide prevention funding

Lawmakers ask for increase in suicide prevention funding
© Greg Nash

Two House lawmakers are asking for more funds for suicide prevention efforts in the wake of a report that showed rising rates across the country.

Reps. Don Beyer (D-Va.) and John KatkoJohn Michael KatkoRepublicans should get behind the 28th Amendment Student loan borrowers are defaulting yearly — how can we fix it? Overnight Defense: Woman accusing general of sexual assault willing to testify | Joint Chiefs pick warns against early Afghan withdrawal | Tensions rise after Iran tries to block British tanker MORE (R-N.Y.), co-chairs of the bipartisan House Suicide Prevention Task Force, noted Wednesday that funding for suicide prevention programs has remained flat or decreased in recent years.

ADVERTISEMENT

"Congress cannot afford to continue to undercut investments in critical programs that help prevent suicide," the lawmakers wrote in a letter to Reps. Rodney FrelinghuysenRodney Procter FrelinghuysenThe 31 Trump districts that will determine the next House majority Top House GOP appropriations staffer moves to lobbying shop Individuals with significant disabilities need hope and action MORE (R-N.J.) and Nita LoweyNita Sue LoweyAppropriators warn White House against clawing back foreign aid Pelosi: Israel's Omar-Tlaib decision 'a sign of weakness' Lawmakers blast Trump as Israel bars door to Tlaib and Omar MORE (D-N.Y.), the chairman and ranking member respectively of the House Appropriations Committee.

"We need to be doing more to combat suicide, not less."

They also asked House appropriators for $150 million for suicide prevention research within the National Institutes of Mental Health. 

An analysis released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last week showed suicide rates have increased in every state except Nevada since 1999 — with half of those states seeing an increase of 30 percent. 

In 2016, nearly 45,000 people died as a result of suicide, according to the CDC, making it the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S.

But public health experts note that it does not receive the same attention as other leading causes of death.

"Suicide is now one of the three leading causes of death in the U.S. that are on the rise, joining Alzheimer's disease and drug overdose," the lawmakers wrote. 

"Congress has taken steps to more effectively address Alzheimer's disease and drug overdoses caused by opioids, but we can do more when it comes to suicide prevention." 

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available at 1-800-273-8255.