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Mar 31, 2022 | Health, In The News

U.S. Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Young Kim (R-CA) on March 28 offered a bipartisan bill that would reauthorize community-based youth and young adult suicide prevention programs that are set to expire at the end of fiscal year 2022.

“I appreciate all my colleagues who are leading this bill with me,” said Rep. McMorris Rodgers, ranking member of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee. “Let’s continue to build on this work for a more secure future for the next generation, especially in providing healing for those struggling with the trials of life.”

Rep. McMorris Rodgers sponsored the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Reauthorization Act, H.R. 7255, with original cosponsors including Rep. Kim and U.S. Rep. Cindy Axne (D-IA) to reauthorize the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act, which is named after the son of former Oregon Sen. Gordon Smith, who died by suicide in his college apartment in Utah in 2004.

If enacted, H.R. 7255 would fund specific programs in the act, such as $40 million for the Garrett Lee Smith State And Tribal Youth Suicide Prevention And Early Intervention Grant Program for each of fiscal years 2023 through 2027; and $9 million for each of fiscal years 2023 through 2027 for the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, according to the text of the bill. Both amounts are increases over current funding levels of $30 million per fiscal year and $5.98 million per fiscal year, respectively.

“COVID-19 lockdowns have resulted in mental health emergencies, and children and young adults of all ages are in crisis,” Rep. McMorris Rodgers said. “This is an urgent time to ensure these strong bipartisan programs can continue to support youth in our communities.”

The measure also would reauthorize the act’s Garrett Lee Smith Campus Suicide Prevention Program and the Mental And Behavioral Health Outreach And Education section of the act from 2023 through 2027, according to the text of the bill.

“Every day, 125 Americans die by suicide, and mental health issues have become more prevalent during the COVID-19 pandemic. I mourn with parents who have lost their children due to suicide and want to do all I can to support resources that uplift our communities,” said Rep. Kim. “I will do everything I can to help individuals improve their access to mental health care to meet their health needs.” 

The Ripon Advance

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