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National Issue

Prevent Youth Suicide

Suicide is the leading cause of death among school age youth. We can prevent youth suicide and violence  by knowing the warning signs and connecting students with services and supports. That’s why Sandy Hook Promise is committed to working with lawmakers to increase access to suicide prevention training for all students and mental health support services in schools and communities.

If you or someone you know is suicidal, get help immediately via 911, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988 or the Crisis Text Line, text “HOME” to 741741.

What Is the STANDUP Act?

Sandy Hook Promise wrote and passed the bipartisan Suicide Training and Awareness Nationally Delivered for Universal Prevention (STANDUP) Act of 2021 to encourage states and tribes to implement and expand evidence-based suicide prevention training in schools. The U.S. House of Representatives and Senate voted unanimously to pass the STANDUP Act and it was signed into law by President Biden on March 15, 2022.

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Why Is It Important?

Suicide has been the second-leading cause of death among young people between the ages of 10 and 24 since 2010.1 Recent CDC research reflects the dire impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, with as many as one in four students reporting having suicidal thoughts.2 Because 70% of those who die by suicide tell someone of their plans or demonstrate warning signs, we can prevent these tragedies. Too many youth and adults are unaware of the warning signs to look for and how to properly intervene. That’s why the STANDUP Act is critically important.

What Does the STANDUP Act Do?

The STANDUP Act adds new requirements to an existing grant program — Project Aware — which was originally created after the Sandy Hook shooting to reduce youth violence.

These new requirements advise states, schools, and tribes to expand access to evidence-based suicide prevention training to every student in grades 6 through 12, teaching them how to recognize the warning signs of self-harm, and how to seek help for themselves and others.

Do These Measures Work?

Research has shown that evidence-informed suicide prevention programs and school threat assessment teams have been effective in reducing suicide, interpersonal violence, bullying, and aggression, and have lowered expulsion and suspension rates.

Additionally, evidence-informed school threat assessment teams have been shown to increase the willingness of students to seek help for threats of violence and mental health.3

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