American Association of Suicidology Applauds the Biden Administration for Addressing the Mental Health Crisis
Washington, D.C. (March 2, 2022): The American Association of Suicidology (AAS) expresses its gratitude to the Biden Administration for taking action to address a number of critical mental health initiatives and specifically addressing suicide in this bold, inclusive, and comprehensive agenda. In 2018, we called on legislators and lawmakers to fully fund suicide prevention at $1 billion annually – this public health-oriented agenda is finally on par with that request and makes huge strides in meeting the scope of the problem head on.
AAS has consistently advocated for youth mental health programs and progressive initiatives that allow young people in the US to access life-saving care. Additionally, it’s promising to see this Administration directly tackle the difficult issue of the intersection of social media with the behavioral health of youth. While social media also carries many advantages in allowing youth to connect with their peers and to provide support, we’re happy to see the Administration target data collection and other examples of users’ digital shadows that can lead to potential harm to this vulnerable population.
At the beginning of the pandemic, AAS highlighted the importance of behavioral health for our frontline and healthcare workers and we praise the President for signing the bipartisan Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act into law “which will invest $135 million over three years into training health care providers on suicide prevention and behavioral health while launching an awareness campaign to address stigmatization, promote help-seeking and self-care among this workforce.”
Again, we applaud the Administration in directly addressing the crisis infrastructure in this country and for fully appreciating the scope of the problem, including prevention, intervention, and outreach across the full continuum of care. Over the last few years, AAS has consistently played a role in developing legislation to further advance the creation and implementation of 988. AAS is the home of many crisis service professionals as well as providing accreditation for over a hundred crisis centers taking part in the 988 and National Suicide Prevention Lifeline network. As such, we strongly advocate for dedicated funding for the 190 local crisis centers in the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline network to answer every one of the estimated annual 9 million crisis calls and texts to 988. This Administration’s agenda takes another major step in the direction of ensuring this will take place and we could not be more grateful.
We look forward to continuing to collaborate with this Administration and other suicide prevention and mental health organizations to reduce suicides in this country.
For the Media: Responsible reporting on suicide, including stories of hope and resilience, can prevent more suicides. Please visit the Media as Partners in Suicide Prevention: Suicide Reporting Recommendations for more details. For additional information, please visit SuicideReportingToolkit.com and Stanford University’s Media and Mental Health Initiative. For crisis services anywhere in the world, please visit FindAHelpline.org.
About AAS: The American Association of Suicidology is the world’s largest membership-based suicide prevention organization. Founded in 1968 by Edwin S. Shneidman, PhD, AAS promotes the research of suicide and its prevention, public awareness programs, public education and training for professionals and volunteers. The membership of AAS includes mental health and public health professionals, researchers, suicide prevention and crisis intervention centers, school districts, crisis center professionals, survivors of suicide loss, attempt survivors, and a variety of laypersons who have in interest in suicide prevention. You can learn more about AAS at www.suicidology.org.