Statement from Secretary Becerra on National Suicide Awareness Month

Sept. 7, 2023

This National Suicide Awareness Month we are reminded that suicide is preventable, and no one should go through a crisis alone.

It is distressing to note that, in 2021, per the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) National Survey on Drug Use and Health, roughly 12.3 million adults and 3.3 million adolescents had serious suicidal thoughts. And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that suicide was the second-leading cause of death of youth and young adults. These data underscore the need for action.

The Biden-Harris Administration is deeply committed to tackling the mental health crisis facing America, particularly the alarming rates of suicide. Recognizing the urgency of this issue, SAMHSA continues to support the Suicide Prevention Resource Center and consistently invests millions in suicide prevention initiatives. In fact, SAMHSA will award nearly $12 million to the Zero Suicide in Health Systems program next week. This ambitious program aims to comprehensively integrate the Zero Suicide intervention and prevention model across various health systems with the express aim of reducing suicide ideation, suicide attempts, and deaths due to suicide.

But no program exemplifies our work to prevent suicide better than 988, the three-digit Suicide & Crisis Lifeline which HHS launched in collaboration with the states in 2022. The Biden-Harris Administration has invested close to $1 billion in 988, and, thanks to 988, Americans are now connected with trained counselors that offer real support in times of crisis. Since the July 2022 launch, 988 has received more than 5.5 million calls, texts, and chats, and this July, text and chat were made available in Spanish.

In the end, what these programs, initiatives, and investments come down to is saving lives and helping people thrive. Because, again, no one should go through it alone. Confidential help is available, and together, we can prevent suicide.

HHS has the release.

Photo 198602321 | Healthcare © Nastassia Samal | Dreamstime.com
Illustration 95879673 © Sandamali Fernando | Dreamstime.com
Photo 202771086 © Kapil Joshi | Dreamstime.com
Photo 159538255 © Thanee Hengpattanapong | Dreamstime.com
Photo 144935703 © Andrey Metelev | Dreamstime.com