Suicide Training and Awareness Nationally Delivered for Universal Prevention Act of 2021

Floor Speech

Date: Feb. 28, 2022
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the bill (S. 1543) to amend the Public Health Service Act to provide best practices on student suicide awareness and prevention training and condition State educational agencies, local educational agencies, and Tribal educational agencies receiving funds under section 520A of such Act to establish and implement a school-based student suicide awareness and prevention training policy.

The Clerk read the title of the bill.

The text of the bill is as follows: S. 1543

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the ``Suicide Training and Awareness Nationally Delivered for Universal Prevention Act of 2021'' or the ``STANDUP Act of 2021''. SEC. 2. STUDENT SUICIDE AWARENESS AND PREVENTION TRAINING.

(a) In General.--Title V of the Public Health Service Act is amended by inserting after section 520A of such Act (42 U.S.C. 290bb-32) the following: ``SEC. 520B. STUDENT SUICIDE AWARENESS AND PREVENTION TRAINING.

``(a) In General.--In awarding funds under section 520A, the Secretary shall give priority to applications under such section from a State educational agency, local educational agency, or Tribal educational agency, submitted directly or through a State or Indian Tribe, for funding for activities in secondary schools, where such agency has implemented, or includes in such application a plan to implement, a student suicide awareness and prevention training policy, which may include applicable youth suicide early intervention and prevention strategies implemented through section 520E--

``(1) establishing and implementing a school-based student suicide awareness and prevention training policy in accordance with subsection (c);

``(2) consulting with stakeholders (including principals, teachers, parents, local Tribal officials, and other relevant experts) and, as appropriate, utilizing information, models, and other resources made available by the Suicide Prevention Technical Assistance Center authorized under section 520C in the development of the policy under paragraph (1); and

``(3) collecting and reporting information in accordance with subsection (d).

``(b) Consideration.--In giving priority to applicants as described in subsection (a), the Secretary shall, as appropriate, take into consideration the incidence and prevalence of suicide in the applicable jurisdiction and the costs of establishing and implementing, as applicable, a school-based student suicide awareness and prevention training policy.

``(c) School-Based Student Suicide Awareness and Prevention Training Policy.--A school-based student suicide awareness and prevention training policy implemented pursuant to subsection (a)(1) shall--

``(1) be evidence-based;

``(2) be culturally- and linguistically-appropriate;

``(3) provide evidence-based training to students in grades 6 through 12, in coordination with school-based mental health resources, as applicable, regarding--

``(A) suicide prevention education and awareness, including associated risk factors;

``(B) methods that students can use to seek help; and

``(C) student resources for suicide awareness and prevention; and

``(4) provide for periodic retraining of such students.

``(d) Collection of Information and Reporting.--Each State educational agency, local educational agency, and Tribal educational agency that receives priority to implement a new training policy pursuant to subsection (a)(1) shall report to the Secretary the following aggregated information, in a manner that protects personal privacy, consistent with applicable Federal and State privacy laws:

``(1) The number of trainings conducted, including the number of student trainings conducted, and the training delivery method used.

``(2) The number of students trained, disaggregated by age and grade level.

``(3) The number of help-seeking reports made by students after implementation of such policy.

``(e) Evidence-Based Program Availability.--The Secretary shall coordinate with the Secretary of Education and the Secretary of the Interior to--

``(1) make publicly available the policies established by State educational agencies, local educational agencies, and Tribal educational agencies pursuant to this section and the training that is available to students and teams pursuant to such policies, in accordance with section 543A; and

``(2) provide technical assistance and disseminate best practices on student suicide awareness and prevention training policies, including through the Suicide Prevention Technical Assistance Center authorized under section 520C, as applicable, to State educational agencies, local educational agencies, and Tribal agencies.

``(f) Implementation.--Not later than September 30, 2024, the Secretary shall report to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions of the Senate and the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the House of Representatives the number of recipients of funds under section 520A who have implemented training policies described in subsection (a)(1) and a summary of the information received under subsection (d).

``(g) Definitions.--In this section:

``(1) The term `evidence-based' has the meaning given such term in section 8101 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.

``(2) The term `local educational agency' has the meaning given to such term in section 8101 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.

``(3) The term `State educational agency' has the meaning given to such term in section 8101 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.

``(4) The term `Tribal educational agency' has the meaning given to the term `tribal educational agency' in section 6132 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.''. SEC. 3. EFFECTIVE DATE.

The amendment made by this Act shall apply only with respect to applications for assistance under section 520A of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 290bb-32) that are submitted after the date of enactment of this Act.

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Mr. PALLONE. 1543.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of S. 1543, the Suicide Training and Awareness Nationally Delivered for Universal Prevention Act, also known as the STANDUP Act.

Americans are facing a growing mental health crisis, and that crisis is hitting our Nation's youth particularly hard right now. While the challenges of COVID-19 amplified this crisis, children and young people in the U.S. have been experiencing rising rates of mental health conditions and suicide for years, particularly among youth of color and LGBTQI+ young people.

Between 2008 and 2018, the suicide rate among adolescents and young people increased by nearly 60 percent. Today, Mr. Speaker, suicide is the second leading cause of death among children and young people between the ages of 10 and 24.

Black youth are nearly twice as likely as White youth to die by suicide, and the rate of suicide amongst American Indian and Alaska Native youth is 2\1/2\ times the overall national average. Meanwhile, the suicide rate among young Hispanic women increased dramatically in the decade leading up to the pandemic.

Additionally, LGBTQI+ youth are at greater risk for depression and suicide. According to a 2020 survey, 50 percent of LGBTQ youth considered attempting suicide in the prior year.

All of these trends are alarming, so much so that pediatric experts have declared the state of children's mental health a national emergency. Last December, Surgeon General Murthy issued an advisory on the youth mental health crisis.

Today, the House is continuing its critical work of considering legislation to address the crisis. The STANDUP Act would require State and Tribal education agencies to establish and implement a suicide awareness and prevention training policy for middle- and high-school students. The policy would be required for any agency receiving funding through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, or SAMHSA's Project AWARE funds, and it would need to be evidence based, as well as culturally and linguistically appropriate.

Last May, Mr. Speaker, we passed the House companion of this bill with bipartisan support here on the House floor after it passed out of the Energy and Commerce Committee last Congress. I commend the lead House sponsors of the bill, Representatives Peters and Bilirakis, for their leadership on this issue.

As chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, I strongly support legislation that will help bring awareness and promote best practices on suicide prevention among our Nation's youth.

Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to support S. 1543, and I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Speaker, I urge support of this bill. It is bipartisan, and again, we would be sending it to the President with our action today.

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