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Rep. Chris Stewart joins effort for more suicide prevention resources

SHARE Rep. Chris Stewart joins effort for more suicide prevention resources

Congressman Chris Stewart, right, talks with the Deseret News editorial board with Gary Webster at Triad Center in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Rep. Chris Stewart is part of a bipartisan effort to provide new suicide prevention resources.

Stewart, R-Utah, said the legislation is part of his long-standing commitment to reverse the rise of suicide in Utah and across the country.

“Suicide hits close to home with Utah having the fifth-highest suicide rate in the nation. I’ve met with family and friends of those who have taken their own life. I’ve heard their stories and I’m responding to their pleas for help,” he said in a news release.

The proposed Suicide Prevention Act would provide funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to work with state and local health departments to better track suicide attempts and other incidences of self-harm. 

Data collected on suicide currently comes years after the fact, which limits the ability of state and local health departments and community organizations to recognize trends early and intervene. 

The bill also would fund a grant program in the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to better train hospital emergency room workers in suicide prevention strategies, screening at-risk patients and referring patients to appropriate follow-up care.

Companion legislation is being introduced in the Senate.