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Engel Authored Health Bill to Prevent Suicides Featured in Committee Hearing

Engel Authored Health Bill to Prevent Suicides Featured in Committee Hearing

Congressman Eliot L. Engel participated in a legislative hearing yesterday in the Energy & Commerce Health Subcommittee on improving the delivery of mental health care in the United States. The hearing included the Effective Suicide Screening and Assessment in the Emergency Department Act, H.R. 4861, which was authored by Congressman Engel to help emergency departments identify and treat those with a high-risk of suicide.

“Before the coronavirus pandemic, suicide rates were rising in New York and across the country, making them the 10th leading cause of death,” said Rep. Engel. “There is a growing consensus among public health experts that the pandemic, which has torn families apart, taken livelihoods, and inflicted untold economic hardship, could lead to more suicides. My bipartisan legislation would equip our nation’s emergency departments to fight this epidemic. I look forward to advancing this very important legislation to a markup.”

The Effective Suicide Screening and Assessment in the Emergency Department Act would allocate $100 million over a five-year period to support emergency department programs to prevent suicides specifically by:

  • Training emergency department clinicians to identify patients with an elevated risk of suicide
  • Developing programs to coordinate the care and follow-up of those with an elevated risk of suicide
  • Supporting the recruitment and retainment of behavioral health professionals who specialize in treating individuals experiencing suicidal ideation
  • Incentivizing the development of new approaches such as telehealth to help those at a high risk of suicide

H.R. 4861 has been endorsed by over 40 mental health advocacy groups including: Emergency Nurses Association, American Psychological Association, American Psychiatric Association, American Nurses Association, the Kennedy Forum, National Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health America.