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Congress Approves Suicide Prevention Bill

Congress Approves Suicide Prevention Bill

by Kevin Caruso

September 10, 2004

Congress passed the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act September 9,2003, which authorizes $82 million over three years for youth suicide prevention programs.

The legislation was sponsored by Oregon Senator Gordon Smith as a tribute to his son, Garrett, who died by suicide.

The House approved the bill 352-64 on September 9th, which would have been Garrett's 23rd birthday. The Senate has also approved the bill, so the bill now goes to the White House.

``No family should experience the pain of losing a child and no child should face the challenges of mental illness alone,'' Senator Smith said. ``This legislation tells parents and children that we know their struggles and that help is out there.''

The bill will emphasize screening programs that will try to identify mental illness in children as young as sixth-graders, and will provide referrals for treatment.

Suicide is the third leading cause of death among those aged 15 to 24, and is the second leading cause of death for college students.

Over ninety percent of the people who die by suicide have a mental illness at the time of their death. And since depression is the most common mental illness, untreated depression is the number one cause for suicide.

If you or someone you know is suicidal, please go to the Home Page of this website for immediate help.

Thank you.

I love you.

Take care,

Kevin Caruso

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