On Monday, the Federal government unveiled a new national strategy to prevent suicides, especially those of veterans. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, military personnel, and representatives from the private sector made the announcement, which garnered extensive print coverage.
USA Today (9/11, Painter) reports, “Many of the 36,000 annual deaths from suicide in the United States could be prevented by making suicide prevention a part of routine health care and getting people to talk frankly about suicide in homes, schools, workplaces, the military and even on Facebook, says an updated national strategy from the surgeon general and a coalition of public and private groups.” The strategy, the 2012 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention, was announced by US Surgeon General Regina Benjamin and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius during a Monday news conference.
The AP (9/11) reports that the Obama Administration is “urging a new focus on preventing suicides, especially among military veterans — and is beefing up the nation’s crisis hotline to help.” On Monday, the Federal government “announced…it will boost staff by 50 percent at the national hotline — 1-800-273-TALK — that’s open to military and civilians alike. It provided $55.6 million for state and local programs, and highlighted Facebook features that link distressed users to counselors.” The AP notes that the Federal government is also “beginning public service announcements urging people to seek help if they spot signs that someone is suicidal.”
— “Surgeon general urges new focus on suicide prevention, “Kim Painter, USA TODAY, September 11, 2012.