White House releases first-ever action plan for suicide prevention

The Biden administration released the latest national strategy for suicide prevention along with the first-ever federal action plan to address the U.S.' mental health crisis.

More than 49,000 people died by suicide in 2022 — a record high, according to data from the CDC. 

The White House created the inaugural federal action plan to put the national strategy into action, according to an April 23 news release from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The plan identifies 200 ways to address the growing mental health and suicidality crisis among Americans, prioritizing change at the national, state, tribal, local and territorial levels over the next decade.

"[The national strategy and action plan] recognize that issues such as the impact of social media on mental health, the intersection of suicide and substance use, and the unique challenges faced by historically marginalized communities demand our immediate attention," U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, MD, said in the release. "This new strategy will enable us to do more to prevent these tragic deaths and build healthier, more connected communities."

Four additional tenets of the plan include identifying ways to address substance use and suicide risk in clinical settings, funding mobile crisis locators for use by 988 crisis centers, increasing support for those who have experienced loss due to suicide, and evaluating the effectiveness of community-based suicide prevention strategies, according to the release. 

The full national strategy and action plan for 2024 can be found here.

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