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Three Bilirakis Bills Considered as Part of Hearing on Suicide Prevention and Public Health Promotion

June 30, 2020
Press Release

Today, the Health Subcommittee reviewed a variety of bills designed to help prevent suicide and improve access to mental health treatment.  Congressman Gus Bilirakis, a long-standing champion of mental health reform, is the co-author of three of these bipartisan measures.  The Effective Suicide Screening in the Emergency Department Act helps to create protocols for identifying, assessing and treating individuals in the E.R. who may be at risk for suicide.  The second Bilirakis bill, the STANDUP Act, encourages schools to expand evidence-based suicide prevention training in schools.  These programs have also decreased rates of expulsion and suspension.  “There is no higher priority than keeping our children safe.  By providing high quality screening and prevention training to school staff and peers, we can identify threats before they materialize, and ensure that those who are at risk get the mental health treatment they need.  Sadly, some communities in my district are among those with the highest suicide rates in our state. With training like this, we can help reverse that troubling trend,” said Rep. Bilirakis.

Other suicide prevention measures considered during the hearing included:

  • H.R. 3539, the Behavioral Health Intervention Guidelines Act;
  • H.R. 4564, the Suicide Prevention Lifeline Improvement Act;
  • H.R.4585, the Campaign to Prevent Suicide Act;
  • H.R. 5619, the Suicide Prevention Act;
  • H.R. 5855, Bipartisan Solution to Cyclical Violence Act;
  • H.R. 7147, the CRISIS Act; and
  • H.R. 7316, the Emergency Mental Health and Substance Use Technical Assistance Act.

A third Bilirakis bill, The Mental Health Parity Enforcement Act, was also considered during the hearing.  This bill would hold insurance companies accountable if they fail to adhere to existing law which requires parity in coverage for mental and physical health conditions.

“Consideration of these bills could not come at a more pressing time. The pandemic and resulting economic downturn have impacted the mental health and well-being of many Americans. It is vital that we ensure access to appropriate tools to assist those in need.  I urge my colleagues to join me in expediting passage of these bills through the legislative process,” Bilirakis added.