Gardner Welcomes Nearly $2.4 Million in Emergency Suicide Prevention Grants for Colorado
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) welcomed the announcement that Colorado will receive a combined total of $2,397,840 in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Service grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to assist with suicide prevention.
“As our country is facing an unprecedented challenge in responding to COVID-19, suicide prevention is now more important than ever, and I’m pleased to see this important funding delivered to support Coloradans,” said Senator Gardner. “Suicide does not discriminate between rural and urban areas or by income, and it causes heartbreak and loss in communities in every single one of our states. I will keep fighting to increase access to life-saving services for Coloradans facing mental health crises, including through funding, and passage of S. 2661, my bipartisan legislation to designate 9-8-8 as a three-digit suicide hotline.”
Gardner introduced S. 2661, the bipartisan National Suicide Hotline Designation Act, with U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Jerry Moran (R-KS), and Jack Reed (D-RI). U.S. Representatives Chris Stewart (R-UT) and Seth Moulton (D-MA) are leading companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives. S. 2661received an endorsement from each of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) commissioners.
The U.S. Senate passed S. 2661 unanimously on May 13, 2020. The bill is awaiting a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives. This week Gardner and Baldwin called on the leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives to pass S. 2661 without delay and wrote, “As our country is facing an unprecedented challenge in responding to COVID-19, this three-digit hotline would play a critical role in saving the lives of many vulnerable Americans who are facing mental health emergencies during this period of isolation and uncertainty.”
The following entities in Colorado will receive funding:
- Colorado State University – $797,848
- Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment – $800,000
- Ute Mountain Ute Tribe – $799,992
Senator Gardner has made it a priority to address rising suicide rates in Colorado and across the nation:
- On average, Colorado loses someone every seven hours to suicide.
- In July 2020, Gardner and U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) introduced the Crisis Care Improvement and Suicide Prevention Act to support crisis care centers and save lives.
- Gardner is leading efforts to designate 9-8-8 as the national suicide prevention hotline so it’s easier for Americans in a mental health crisis to receive help. On May 13, the Senate unanimously passedGardner’s National Suicide Hotline Designation Act.
- In April 2020, Gardner and a bipartisan group of Senate colleagues wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer calling for an increase critical funds for suicide prevention amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Gardner introduced the bipartisan, bicameral Effective Suicide Screening and Assessment in the Emergency Department Act in December 2019 to improve suicide screening and prevention practices in hospital emergency departments with a focus on increasing identification, assessment, and treatment of patients who are at risk for suicide.
- In September 2019, Gardner introduced the Suicide Training and Awareness Nationally Delivered for Universal Prevention (STANDUP) Act with Senator Doug Jones (D-AL), which is supported by Sandy Hook Promise and requires states and public schools to implement evidence-based policies to prevent suicides in order to receive Project AWARE grants.
- Gardner introduced the Mental Health Professionals Workforce Shortage Loan Repayment Act in September 2019 with Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA), which authorizes new loan repayment options for mental health professionals who agree to practice in an area with a shortage.
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.
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