Delaney, Stewart Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Modernize Suicide Prevention Analytics

Oct 31, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Yesterday, Rep. John K. Delaney (MD-06) and Rep. Chris Stewart (UT-02) introduced H.R. 7103, the Suicide Prevention Analytics Act of 2018. This bipartisan legislation aims to address the gap in data reporting as it relates to self-harm and suicidal behavior. This pilot program will help improve the compilation and sharing of near real-time suicidal behavior information among care providers, prevention experts, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Emergency Room medical practitioners record suicidal and self-harm behaviors using standard medical data recording processes, including privacy regulations and safeguards. However, reports on suicidal behavior can take one to two years to compile. By enabling near real-time data sharing, community care providers can respond more quickly to changes in trends, deliver more timely prevention resources, and track the success of such resources.

“Suicide rates in America are alarming and this is just one of the many necessary steps to improving mental health care,” said Congressman Delaney. “This legislation would enable the CDC to work in partnership with local communities, creating far more effective prevention efforts based on near real-time analysis. I applaud the efforts by mental health leaders – especially the AFSP – in pushing for this critical improvement in care. We will save lives with this bill.”

“Too many of us have experienced the tragic loss of life and heartbreak that results from suicide. I'm proud to be the lead co-sponsor for this legislation that focuses on a better way to track and monitor self-harm and suicidal behavior,” said Congressman Stewart. “Up-to-date reporting will allow federal and state resources to be made available in a more effective and timelier manner. There is still a lot to be done, and I am committed to continuing this critical work.”

“As the nation’s largest suicide prevention organization, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is grateful to Congressman John K. Delaney (MD-06) for being a true champion of mental health. When our advocates from Maryland reached out to him - he really listened. He listened and he acted. We thank Congressmen Delaney and Stewart for introducing this bill and hope other members of Congress will follow their lead in making mental health a priority for our nation.”

The program provides grants to state or local public health departments and is staggered to increase the number of grants over a five-year period, allowing CDC to build on its initial rollout to reach more communities each year.

In 2016, 1.3 million Americans attempted suicide and in 2015, 505,507 people visited a hospital for injuries due to self-harm. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, reflecting the need for a more comprehensive review of suicidal behavior trends and effective prevention and reduction methods. This is the second collaborative mental health effort by Delaney and Stewart this year, after pushing for more program funding during the appropriations process.