Gardner, Jones Lead Bill with Sandy Hook Promise to Prevent Suicide

“Suicide accounts for two-thirds of all gun deaths and is now the leading cause of death for young people in Colorado.” -Senator Gardner

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Doug Jones (D-AL) introduced the Suicide Training and Awareness Nationally Delivered for Universal Prevention (STANDUP) Act today, legislation supported by Sandy Hook Promise to address rising youth suicide rates. U.S. Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Chris Coons (D-DE), John Cornyn (R-TX), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) are original cosponsors of the legislation.


The STANDUP Act requires states, public schools, and Tribes to implement evidence-based policies to prevent suicides in order to receive certain 520A grants, including Project AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resilience in Education) grants, which promote youth mental health awareness among schools and communities and improve connections to services for school-age youth.


“When I travel across all four corners of our state holding roundtables and hearing from constituents, the topic of suicide comes up in almost every conversation,” said Senator Gardner. “Suicide accounts for two-thirds of all gun deaths and is now the leading cause of death for young people in Colorado. Something has to be done to keep students safe. I thank my colleagues and Sandy Hook Promise for working together across the aisle to develop evidence-based policy to address mental health and suicides in our nation’s schools.”


“It is crucial that we provide students with resources to help them take care of their mental health,” said Senator Jones. “Alabama leads the country with its suicide awareness and prevention training for students and educators, and the STANDUP Act will ensure that similar standards are expanded nationwide. We have to do everything we can to stop the alarming trend of rising suicide rates among young people.”


“The rise of suicides among young people is deeply upsetting, and it’s critical that we all work together to address this,” said Senator Hassan. “Our bipartisan bill will help stem the alarming rate of self-harm in New Hampshire and across the country by providing support to help schools implement effective suicide awareness and prevention programs.”


“On average, one person dies by suicide every 22 hours in West Virginia. Far too many young West Virginians have turned to self-harm today. It’s an alarming and heartbreaking trend that demands action,” said Senator Capito. “The STANDUP Act works to prevent suicides by teaching kids early about mental health awareness and educating them on the resources available to them.”


“Every time I speak with educators in Delaware, they stress the importance of providing mental health services in our schools,” said Senator Coons. “The teen suicide rate is at its highest level since at least 1960 – It has doubled for young women since 2000 and hit rates for young men not seen since the early days of the HIV/AIDS crisis. These tragic statistics underscore the urgency of ensuring that students are able to identify warning signs and navigate support services, both for themselves and their peers.”


“The rates of youth suicide and violence occurring in our country’s schools are appalling. We know that with proper training in schools that self-harm, violence, and suicide can be preventable. We are proud to partner with these bipartisan champions to pass this critical legislation so that more youth and adults ‘know the signs’ to properly intervene before a tragedy can occur and we urge Congress to pass this bill,” said Mark Barden, co-founder and managing director of Sandy Hook Promise, and father of Daniel who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting.


Since 2010, suicide has been the second-leading cause of death for young people aged 10-24. Suicides make up two-thirds of all gun deaths, and research shows that 70% of those who die of suicide tell someone of their plans or give another warning sign.


Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) is a national non-profit organization founded and lead by several family members whose loved ones were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012. SHP’s mission is to create a culture engaged in preventing shootings, violence, and other harmful acts in schools.


The STANDUP Act is supported by a wide array of organizations, including: Sandy Hook Promise, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Alliance for Strong Families and Communities, American Art Therapy Association, American Association for Psychoanalysis in Clinical Social Work, American Association of Suicidology, American Counseling Association, American Group Psychotherapy Association, Anxiety and Depression Association of America, Association For Ambulatory Behavioral Healthcare, Coalition for Juvenile Justice, EDGE Consulting LLC, Global Alliance for Behavioral Health and Social Justice, International OCD Foundation, National Alliance on Mental Illness, National Association of County Behavioral Health & Developmental Disability Directors, National Association of Elementary School Principals, National Association of School Psychologists, National Association of Secondary School Principals, National Association of Social Workers, National Eating Disorders Association, National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health, Postpartum Support International, School Social Work Association of America, The National Alliance to Advance Adolescent Health, The National Association for Rural Mental Health, The National Association of County Behavioral Health and Developmental Disability Directors, The Trevor Project, Eating Disorders Coalition.




Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. Senate serving Colorado. He sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy.