September 24, 2019

Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman Introduces Resolution Recognizing September as "National Suicide Prevention Month"

Washington, D.C. (September 24, 2019) – Today, Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) introduced a resolution supporting the designation of September as National Suicide Prevention Month. Since 2008, suicide has been a leading cause of death among young people aged 10 to 34, second only to accidents. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are over 1.3 million suicide attempts each year resulting in over 47,000 deaths. The risk of suicide is especially high in the LGBTQ community. The Trevor Project estimates more than 1.8 million lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer youth seriously consider suicide each year.

Deaths of despair, including suicide, are at an all-time high among young people in this country. The epidemic of suicide has had an especially heavy impact on our LGBTQ youth and LGBTQ youth of color,” said Watson Coleman. “At the same time, the stigma associated with mental health conditions further exacerbates the problem of suicide prevention by discouraging those in crisis from seeking help. For the sake of the mental health of an entire generation, we must draw attention to and address this problem.”

According to data released in 2018, almost half of all lesbian, gay, and bisexual students seriously consider attempting suicide. Separately, the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey found 40 percent of respondents had attempted suicide at least once, nearly nine times the rate for the U.S. population at large. 

"Too many people, too many lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and same gender loving people, too many Black LGBTQ/SGL people are dying by suicide and this does not have to be our reality. A critically important step in responding to and reducing the number of people who die by suicide and to better supporting people living with suicidal thoughts is to have more conversations about mental health, wellness and suicide,” said David J. Johns, Executive Director of the National Black Justice Coalition. “I applaud Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, our colleagues at the Trevor Project and everyone involved in the effort to ensure that we make more space to talk about and find resources to acknowledge suicide as a public health problem that must be addressed expeditiously.”

"We are grateful to Representative Watson Coleman for recognizing suicide among LGBTQ people as a public health crisis, and for marking its importance with a House resolution during National Suicide Prevention Month," said Amit Paley, CEO & Executive Director for The Trevor Project, the world's largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ young people. "In our recent survey of LGBTQ youth mental health, 39% of LGBTQ youth reported seriously considering attempting suicide in the past twelve months, and more than half of transgender and non-binary youth seriously considered it. We applaud the Congresswoman's commitment to LGBTQ youth. Together we can show that they are loved and never alone, and that their identities are cause for celebration."

Rep. Watson Coleman is the Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Emergency Taskforce on Black Youth Suicide and Mental Health.

House Cosponsors of the resolution include: Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Alcee Hastings (D-FL), Susan Wild (D-PA), Ro Khanna (CA-17), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX), Hank Johnson (D-GA), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Susie Lee (D-NV), Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Sylvia Garcia (D-TX), Jim Cooper (D-TN), Albio Sires (D-NJ), Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Bill Foster (D-IL), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Grace Meng (D-NY), Shelia Jackson Lee (D-TX), Kendra Horn (D-OK), Andre Carson (D-IN), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Kathy Castor (D-FL), Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Chris Pappas (D-NH), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Deb Haaland (D-NM), Eliot Engel (D-NY), Jose Serrano (D-NY), Linda Sanchez (D-CA), Marcia Fudge (D-OH), Betty McCollum (D-MN), Stephen Lynch (D-MA), and Lou Correa (D-CA).

To see the text of the resolution, click here.