news beyer introduces peer to peer suicide prevention legislation

Peer-to-peer suicide prevention legislation would boost efforts in middle, high schools

teen mental health
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Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) today introduced the Peer-to-Peer Suicide Prevention Act.

The bill, modeled on a successful effort in Wisconsin, would empower young people to address mental health by establishing a competitive grant program for middle and high-schools to facilitate student-led suicide prevention programs.

“As part of our push to prevent the terrible epidemic of suicide in the United States and give Americans more resources to support mental health, we should be looking at strategies that are already working – and that includes peer-to-peer support,” said Beyer. “My legislation would help support student-led mental health efforts, which are already showing promise in Wisconsin, across the country. Congress must do all it can to address suicide and mental illness, and I will continue working on that important effort with colleagues in both parties.”

The Brookings Institute reported that students at risk of suicide are more likely to turn to a peer than an adult or authority figure for help, and Mental Health America recently released a report highlighting demand for peer-to-peer support.

According to the CDC, suicide was the second leading cause of death for people ages 10-14 and 25-34 in 2020.

Overall, there were more than 45,000 Americans who died by suicide in 2020.

The full text of the Peer-to-Peer Suicide Prevention Act is available here.

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.