HHS Awards Funding to States, Tribes, and College Campuses to Help Prevent Youth Suicide, Part of the Biden-Harris Commitment to Addressing the Mental Health Crisis
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), today awarded $5.9 million to states, tribes and college campuses for youth suicide prevention programs.
“Thanks to President Biden, we are finally and seriously saying to young Americans struggling with their mental health: We hear you. Support is here,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “Support is here for young people through their colleges and universities, foster care programs, and countless other youth serving organizations.”
“Too many young lives are cut short due to suicide, which is sadly one of leading causes of death for young people. We want them, and anyone having thoughts of suicide, to know that there is hope, and there is help,” said Miriam E. Delphin-Rittmon, Ph.D., HHS Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use and the leader of SAMHSA. “With the right care, anyone affected by or at risk for suicide, mental health and substance use conditions can recover, achieve wellbeing and thrive.”
Last year, HHS launched the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. Anyone, including children and teenagers, can call, text or chat 24/7 to get the help they need when they are having suicidal thoughts or experiencing any other kind of mental health emergency. A pilot service for LGBTQI+ youth offers 24/7 call, text and chat access to specially trained crisis counselors.
Addressing the mental health crisis is a top priority of the Biden-Harris Administration, and part of President Biden’s Unity Agenda for the nation. The Administration has invested $3.7 billion through the American Rescue Plan and more than $800 million through the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act in SAMHSA grant programs as part of President Biden’s comprehensive efforts to improve access to mental health care, prevent overdoses, and save lives. These investments enabled the expansion of lifesaving prevention, treatment, and recovery support services in communities throughout the country, including the transition to 988 Lifeline in July 2022.
Of the total $5.9 million awarded today, $3.6 million was awarded to states and tribes under the Garrett Lee Smith (GLS) State/Tribal Youth Suicide Prevention and Early Intervention Program. This program supports states and tribes with implementing youth suicide prevention and early intervention strategies in schools, institutions of higher education, juvenile justice systems, substance use and mental health programs, foster care systems and other child and youth-serving organizations.
The remaining $2.3 million was awarded to college campuses under the GLS Campus Suicide Prevention Program, which enhances mental health services for all college students, including those at risk for suicide, depression, serious mental illness/serious emotional disturbances, and/or substance use disorders that can lead to school failure. The program also helps to prevent and reduce suicide, mental and substance use disorders, promotes help-seeking behavior and improves the identification and treatment of at-risk college students so they can successfully complete their studies.
HHS also recently announced a notice of funding opportunity for LGBTQI+ Family Support in support of the President’s Executive Order “Advancing Equality for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex Individuals.” This program will provide grants to prevent health and behavioral health risks (e.g., suicide, depression, homelessness, drug use, HIV) and to promote well-being for LGBTQI+ youth in the context of their families/caregivers, cultures, and communities by establishing LGBTQI+ family counseling and support programs and training providers on effective provision of these evidence-based services. Having even just one caring adult can make a significant, and even lifesaving, difference in the life of an LGBTQI+ youth.
In 2021, according to SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 4.8% of adults ages 18 or older (about 12.3 million people) had serious thoughts of suicide, and among adolescents ages 12 to 17, 12.7% (about 3.3 million people) had serious thoughts of suicide.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that in 2021, suicide was the second-leading cause of death for people aged 10–14 and 25–34 years and more than 107,000 people died from drug overdoses.
If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 or chat 988lifeline.org. To learn how to get support for mental health, drug, and alcohol issues, visit FindSupport.gov.